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Home Grown 




Home Grown 



Thomas Prugh, Editor 

November 2002 

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Table of Contents 

Summary 5 

Entering the Foodshed 8 

The Transcontinental Lettuce 16 

The Wal-Mart Effect 21 

Making Food Deserts Bloom 28 

Farmers as Entrepreneurs 35 

Taking Back the Market 41 

Rebuilding the Local Foodshed 50 

The Personal Case for Eating Local 57 

Appendix 65 

Notes 68 

Index 80 

Figures and Boxes 

Figure 1: Value of World Agricultural Trade, 1961-2000 11 

Figure 2: Volume of World Agricultural Trade, 1961-2000 11 

Figure 3 A: Local Versus Imported Ingredients: Iowa 18 

Figure 3B: Local Versus Imported Ingredients: England 19 

Figure 4: Seasonal Availability of a Selection 

of British Apples 31 

Box 1: Concentration in Various Layers of Agribusiness 24 

Box 2: Farming the Cities 36 

Box 3: Fair Trade: Supporting the Local From Far Away 49 

Box 4: Examples of Local Food Policy Councils 
and Their Achievements 


Box 5: How To Keep a City Fed 53 

Box 6: National and International Policy Changes 

To Help Rebuild Local Foodsheds 56 

Box 7: What Individuals Can Do 58 


I am grateful to the many people who shared their knowledge and crit- 
icism for this paper, including Herb Barbolet, Andy Fisher, Jerry Goldstein, 
Joan Gussow, Ronald Halweil, Mary Hendrickson, Dave Henson, Matt 
Hora, Ian Hutchcroft, Andy Jones, Jack Kloppenburg, Dick Levins, Katy 
Mamen, Ilaria Morra, Michael Olson, Rich Pirog, Valeska Populah, Jules 
Pretty, Mark Ritchie, Wayne Roberts, Peter Rosset, Edward Seidler, Jac Smit, 
Greg Studen, and Mark Winne. At Worldwatch, many colleagues provided 
thoughtful feedback on various drafts, including Erik Assadourian, Richard 
Bell, Chris Bright, and Danielle Nierenberg. Editorial Director Ed Ayres 
helped shape an earlier article, "Where Have All the Farmers Gone?," which 
provided the conceptual motivation for this paper. Interns Arunima 
Dhar and Meghan Crimmins tracked down elusive data and information, 
while Research Librarian Lori Brown obtained various books and relevant 
documentation, and also quietly inspired me through her and her hus- 
band's own efforts to grow and sell local food. Senior Editor Tom Prugh 
helped me tighten the language and improve the rigor of the argument. 
Art Director Lyle Rosbotham advised me on how to make the best use of 
graphics to convey useful information. Leanne Mitchell and Susan Finkel- 
pearl in WorldWatch's communications office helped me distill the mes- 
sages I hope this paper will convey. 

Research Associate BRIAN HALWEIL joined Worldwatch Institute in 
1997 as the John Gardner Public Service Fellow from Stanford University. 
At the Institute, Brian writes on the social and ecological impacts of 
how we grow food, focusing recently on organic farming, biotechnology, 
hunger, and rural communities. Brian's work has been featured in the inter- 
national press and he has testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on 
Foreign Relations on the role of biotechnology in combating poverty and 
hunger in the developing world. Brian has traveled extensively in Mex- 
ico, Central America, the Caribbean, and East Africa, learning indigenous 
farming techniques and promoting sustainable food production. Before 
coming to Worldwatch, Brian worked with California farmers interested 
in reducing their pesticide use, and set up a two-acre student-run organic 
farm on the Stanford campus. Brian is the author of two previous World- 
watch Papers, including Underfed and Overfed: The Global Epidemic of Mal- 
nutrition (March 2000), co-authored with Director of Research Gary 
Gardner. Brian also co-authored the 1999 book Beyond Malthus: Nineteen 
Dimensions of the Population Challenge. 



People everywhere depend increasingly on food from distant 
sources. In the last 40 years, the value of international 
trade in food has tripled, and the tonnage of food shipped 
between nations has grown fourfold, while population has only 
doubled. In the United States, food typically travels between 
2,500 and 4,000 kilometers from farm to plate, up to 25 per- 
cent farther than in 1980. In the United Kingdom, food trav- 
els 50 percent farther than it did two decades ago. 

The reason is partly demographic: Since more people 
live in cities, fewer people live near food production centers. 
Perhaps more importantly, advances in technology that allow 
longer storage and more distant (and less costly) shipping 
have encouraged the food system to sprawl. Cheap gasoline and 
various transportation subsidies also underpin this food traf- 
fic, which can require staggering amounts of fuel. A basic 
diet — some meat, grain, fruits, and vegetables — using imported 
ingredients can easily gobble four times the energy, and gen- 
erate four times the greenhouse gas emissions, of an equiva- 
lent diet with ingredients from domestic sources. 

For those who can afford it, the long-distance food sys- 
tem offers unprecedented and unparalleled choice — any food, 
anytime, anywhere. But the "global vending machine" often 
displaces local cuisines, varieties, and agriculture. Products 
enduring long-term transport and storage depend on preser- 
vatives and additives, and encounter endless opportunities for 
contamination on their long journey from farm to plate. 
Long-distance food erodes the pleasures of face-to-face inter- 



actions around food and the security that comes from know- 
ing what one is eating. 

Economists often argue that the long-distance food trade 
is efficient, because communities and nations can buy their 
food from the lowest-cost provider. But the loss of local food 
self-reliance brings a range of unseen costs — to the environ- 
ment, to the agricultural landscape, and to farm communities. 

Instead of selling food to their neighbors, farmers sell into 
a long and complex marketing chain of which they are a tiny 
part — and are paid accordingly. Evidence from North America, 
Asia, and Africa shows that farm communities have not ben- 
efited, and have often suffered, as a result of freer trade in agri- 
cultural goods. Meanwhile, the supposed efficiencies of the 
long-distance food chain leave many people malnourished and 
underserved. Farmers producing for export often go hungry as 
they sacrifice the use of their land to feed foreign mouths, while 
poor urbanites in both the First and Third Worlds find them- 
selves living in neighborhoods unable to attract supermarkets, 
green grocers, and healthy food choices. 

Fortunately, the long-distance food habit is slowly begin- 
ning to weaken under the influence of a young, but surging, 
local foods movement. This movement can help restore rural 
areas, enrich poor nations, return fresh and wholesome food 
to cities, and reconnect suburbanites with the land by reclaim- 
ing lawns, abandoned lots, and golf courses to use as local farms, 
orchards, and gardens. While a certain amount of food trade 
is useful, communities that seek to meet their food needs 
locally as much as possible will realize other benefits as well: 

• Rebuilding local foodsheds requires rebuilding the local 
diversity of crops and food businesses needed to adequately feed 
the local population. Farmers producing for the local market 
tend to increase the diversity of their plantings — a shift with 
advantages for the diets of local people and the ecology of local 

• Money spent on local produce at farmers' markets, at 
locally owned shops, or on locally produced foods stays in the 
community longer, creating jobs, raising incomes, and sup- 
porting farmers. Developing nations that emphasize greater 



food self-reliance can thereby retain precious foreign exchange 
and avoid the whims of international markets. 

• Local food often costs less than the equivalent food 
bought on the international market or from a supermarket, 
because transportation costs are lower and there are fewer 

The explosive growth in farmers' markets and commu- 
nity supported agriculture (food delivery subscription schemes) 
is the clearest indication of growing interest in local food. But 
these sorts of direct marketing arrangements are perhaps the 
easiest parts of the local food system to rebuild, since they oper- 
ate under the radar of the conventional food chain — in the 
niche for fresh, high-quality food connected to a real per- 
son — that will never be filled by anonymous supermarkets 
and multinational food companies. 

The food processing and retailing sectors are among the 
most intensely consolidated links in the food chain. Recap- 
turing these sectors will not be easy. In many communities, the 
local packing house, slaughterhouse, dairy, cannery, and com- 
mercial kitchen are gone. Nonetheless, success on this front 
could hold tremendous profit-making potential, by allowing 
larger growers (too big for farmers' markets) and larger food 
businesses to tap the interest in local foods and by enabling a 
broader range of consumers to enjoy local foods. 

Seizing these opportunities will require farmers to shift 
from their current role as mass marketers of generic com- 
modities to a more entrepreneurial approach that is responsive 
to local consumer demands. Farmers will benefit from coming 
together in marketing cooperatives — allowing them to share 
marketing, transportation, and distribution capacity — as well 
as from linking up with other institutions suffering from food- 
industry consolidation, including restaurants, consumer co-ops, 
caterers, school cafeterias, and independent grocers. 

One relatively new institution that can help facilitate these 
linkages is the local food policy council. More than a dozen 
such institutions exist in North America alone, tracking changes 
in the local food system, lobbying for farmland protection, 
pointing citizens towards local food options, creating incen- 



tives for local food businesses, and generally making policy 
more responsive to local food needs. 

A more diffuse, but potentially more powerful, actor is the 
food consumer. Consumers may seek out local food because 
of the superior taste of products harvested at the peak of 
ripeness and flavor, and because of the high level of control 
it gives over the food they eat. Well-publicized food safety con- 
cerns — such as mad cow disease and genetically modified 
foods — have stirred consumers everywhere to determine the 
origins of their food. This depends heavily on shortening the 
distance between food producers and consumers. 

Entering the Foodshed 

In a sprawling series of hangar-sized warehouses in the Mary- 
land town of Upper Marlboro, fruit, vegetables, meat, milk, 
and other foods destined for kitchen tables along the East 
Coast of the United States sit in mammoth refrigerators. This 
is the midatlantic regional distribution center for Safeway 
supermarkets, and the echo off the rafters and the hum of the 
machinery gives some sense of the immense scale of infra- 
structure required to ship food around the planet and ensure 
that it is still palatable when it arrives. 

Think of this place as a pit-stop for travel-weary foods from 
around the world. " Essentially, all produce that is distributed 
on the East Coast must go through here for quality control, taste 
and appearance inspection, inventory," explains Matthew 
Hora of the Capital Area Food Bank, who has studied the his- 
tory of food distribution in the United States. "So if a lettuce 
farmer outside Atlanta, Georgia, wants to sell lettuce to a Safe- 
way in Atlanta, it must first be shipped 1,000 kilometers to 
Upper Marlboro for inspection, then be shipped back down to 
Georgia," all the while consuming fuel and taking up extra road 
space — not to mention becoming less fresh. 1 

This arrangement may seem absurd. To a supermarket 
executive or produce wholesaler, this mammoth distribution 



center is a state-of-the-art innovation in efficiency. But include 
the subsidies for gasoline and roads, the effects of smog and 
global warming, the ecological fallout from the industrial 
farms that supply the distribution center, and a range of other 
hidden costs, and the "efficiency" of long-distance food begins 
to fade away. Because these costs are mostly unaccounted 
for — not paid directly by the consumer, farmer, or supermar- 
ket — the resulting food is artificially cheap. 

Food hasn't always been such a globe-trotter. For exam- 
ple, as recently as the 1950s virtually all of the fruits and veg- 
etables consumed in Washington, D.C., were grown on farms 
in nearby Maryland. Long-distance shipping was impractical 
and expensive. But a chain of related events over the next few 
decades changed that. Refrigerated long-haul trucks were 
developed, and gasoline prices fell. A federally subsidized 
interstate highway system spread from coast to coast. Advances 
in food processing made long-term storage possible. Califor- 
nia produce growers began advertising aggressively. Before 
long, the Midatlantic began to depend on food from all over. 
Statistics from one wholesale market in Maryland show that 
the average kilogram of produce traveled at least 2,800 kilo- 
meters from farm to plate, as much as 25 percent farther today 
than in 1980. 2 

As local farmland declined in importance and prof- 
itability in the Midatlantic, thousands of farmers in Virginia, 
Pennsylvania, and Maryland went under and farm communities 
dried up, many of them replaced by subdivisions and asphalt. 
The landscape declined in diversity as the remaining farms spe- 
cialized in one or two crops to service distant markets rather 
than provide a range of foods for locals. The economic land- 
scape also declined in diversity as many food businesses — 
from local grocers and bakers to local canneries and caterers — 
were replaced by a handful of national conglomerates. 3 

This system of long-distance food supply has now become 
the norm in much of the United States and the rest of the 
world. Apples in Des Moines supermarkets are from China, even 
though there are apple farmers in Iowa; potatoes in Lima's 
supermarkets are from the United States, even though Peru 



boasts more varieties of potato than any other country. Today, 
our food travels farther than ever before, often thousands of 
kilometers. The value of international trade in food has tripled 
since 1961, while the tonnage of food shipped between coun- 
tries has grown fourfold, during a time when the human pop- 
ulation only doubled. 4 (See Figures 1 and 2.) 

But, as with many trends that carry serious social and eco- 
logical consequences, the long-distance food habit is slowly 
beginning to weaken, under the influence of a young, but surg- 
ing, local foods movement in the Midatlantic and elsewhere. 
Politicians and voters in the counties surrounding Washing- 
ton, D.C., have supported aggressive measures to protect farm- 
land using tax credits, conservation easements, and greater 
emphasis on mass transit. Some of this interest is inspired by 
the desire to preserve the beauty of the countryside, but the 
campaign to preserve local farmland also rests on the assump- 
tion that farmers connected to a community are likely to 
farm more responsibly. Accokeek Ecosystem Farm, a seven-acre 
certified organic farm located on the Potomac River in south- 
ern Maryland, not only produces food for a weekly food sub- 
scription service for almost 90 families (and has started a 
waiting list because demand is so great), but plays a role in pro- 
tecting the Chesapeake watershed (farmland holds more water 
than sprawling subdivisions) and keeping agrochemicals out 
of the Bay. 5 

Since protecting farmland means little if farmers continue 
to go out of business, many Midatlantic residents and organ- 
izations are bringing back local food markets, which not only 
help sustain the local farm economy but also build solidarity 
between farmers and their urban neighbors. This became clear 
on a recent trip to the bustling FreshFarm Market, staged 
weekly in a bank parking lot and adjacent side street off Wash- 
ington's Dupont Circle and hosting about 30 growers from 
within 250 kilometers of the city. From a distance this farm- 
ers' market looks like a human beehive, buzzing with con- 
versation, laughter, music, and talk of food — the social and 
aesthetic antithesis of the food system symbolized by the Safe- 
way distribution center in Upper Marlboro. (Sociologists esti- 



Value of World Agricultural Trade, 1961-2000 


Volume of World Agricultural Trade, 1961-2000 






Million tons 






mate that people have 10 times as many conversations at 
farmers' markets than at supermarkets.) Each Sunday, the 
FreshFarm Market features a different local chef demonstrat- 
ing how to transform what is currently available at the mar- 
ket into a scrumptious dish — on one August Sunday, how to 
make a pesto out of garlic and how to can tomato sauce. This 
is a big draw for market-goers and an easy way to reinforce the 
possibilities of seasonal cooking. Apart from the tasty fare, "the 
biggest reason for shopping here," according to market super- 
visor Bernie Prince, is that in stark contrast to the typical 
foodchain in which food travels thousands of kilometers and 
might change hands a dozen times, "a farmers' market allows 
you to have some firsthand sense of where your food comes 
from." Such a connection means more to Americans as news 
reports discuss the possible risks of food irradiation, genetically 
modified organisms, and bacterial contamination (this last of 
which recently prompted the second largest meat recall in 
national history). 6 

Ten other farmers' markets have sprung up around town 
just in the last year. The farmers' market in Anacostia, the poor- 
est section of Washington, might be the best hope for many 
residents to get fresh fruits and vegetables — urgently needed 
in a part of the city crammed with fast food joints but with- 
out a supermarket for the last few years. For Anacostia residents, 
accustomed to conducting food purchases through bullet- 
proof glass, the market also creates a safe, central public place 
for people to gather and socialize. 7 

Farmers in the region have banded together in a number 
of marketing cooperatives in order to sell at farmers' markets, 
deliver weekly boxes of vegetables to private subscribers, and 
serve commercial kitchens at hotels, restaurants, and cafete- 
rias. The 14-member Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative, 
for instance, supplies several local grocers, natural food stores, 
and assorted restaurants. "For a chef concerned with taste, there 
is no substitute for working with food in-season that has been 
picked the day before," explains Nora Poullion, whose restau- 
rants buy from Tuscarora. Poullion notes that her restaurants 
could not offer an array of local meats, grains, fruits, vegeta- 



bles, and nuts without the existence of many local farms, 
including some local growers who have built greenhouses to 
extend their growing season. 8 

This interest in local food is almost catching. As more 
farmers raise a variety of crops for local markets, it can quickly 
become easier and cheaper for school cafeterias, restaurants, 
government offices, and households to incorporate local foods 
into their cuisine. The presence of a farmers' market or com- 
munity garden often inspires neighboring areas to create their 
own, and the possibilities for start-up food businesses, includ- 
ing bakeries, butchers, green grocers, canneries, and caterers, 
multiply with the growing availability of local foods. 

This is what it looks like to rebuild a local "foodshed" — 
that sphere of land, people, and businesses that provides a com- 
munity or region with its food. So many of these activities and 
arrangements seem intrinsically valuable: chefs using fresher, 
tastier, and less processed foods; farmers linking up to offer busy 
consumers a diversity of products in one location; empty 
downtown parking lots sprouting farmers' markets on the 
weekends. But such obviously beneficial developments remain 
a tiny counterweight to the vast agro-industrial food system, 
a fact that points to the formidable barriers facing local foods: 
agribusiness monopolies that can squash competition; cheap 
fossil fuels that encourage long-distance shipping; a stubborn 
conception of farmers as producers with no need to connect 
with eaters; and a range of agricultural policies that discour- 
age local farms, farmers' markets, and food cooperatives in favor 
of factory farms, megamarkets, and long-distance trade. 

The long-distance transport of food has become such a 
defining characteristic of the modern food system that most 
people accept it as the only way for us to be well-fed. For 
those who can afford it, the wonder of eating exotic produce 
grown halfway around the globe in the depths of a rainforest 
or on some Asian rangeland emerges as one of the clearest ben- 
efits of the long-distance food system. Cheap and fast trans- 
portation enable cross-cultural experiences, fusion cuisine, 
and dietary exploration, especially for those living in large met- 
ropolitan centers. 



But there is an unavoidable tension between the human 
enjoyment of variety and the global homogenization of food. 
The long-distance food system offers unprecedented and 
unparalleled choice to paying consumers — any food, any time, 
anywhere. But this astounding choice is laden with contra- 
dictions. Ecologist and writer Gary Nabhan wonders "what culi- 
nary melodies are being drowned out by the noise of that 
transnational vending machine/' which often runs roughshod 
over local cuisines, varieties, and agriculture. The choice 
offered by the global vending machine is often illusory, defined 
by infinite flavoring, packaging, and marketing reformula- 
tions of largely the same raw ingredients. (Consider the hun- 
dreds of available breakfast cereals.) The taste of products that 
are always available, but usually out of season, often leaves 
something to be desired. And where is the choice when every 
link in the chain is controlled by a declining number of firms? 9 

Long-distance travel requires more packaging, refrigeration, 
and fuel, and generates huge amounts of waste and pollution. 
Products enduring long-distance transport and longterm stor- 
age depend on preservatives and additives, and encounter end- 
less opportunities for contamination on their journey from farm 
to plate. Instead of dealing directly with their neighbors, farm- 
ers sell into a long and complex food marketing chain of 
which they are a tiny part — and are paid accordingly. A whole 
constellation of relationships within the foodshed — between 
neighbors, between farmers and local processors, between 
farmers and consumers — is lost in the process. Farmers pro- 
ducing for export often find themselves hungry as they sacri- 
fice the output of their land to feed foreign mouths, while poor 
urbanites in both the First and Third Worlds find themselves 
living in neighborhoods unable to attract most supermarkets 
and other food shops and thus without healthy food choices. 
The supposed efficiencies of the long-distance chain leave 
many malnourished and underserved. 

Our food system in many ways reflects what the chang- 
ing world economic structure means for the environment, 
our health, and the quality of our lives. The quality, taste, and 
vitality of our foods are profoundly affected by how and where 



they are produced, and how they arrive at our tables. Food 
touches us so deeply that threats to local food traditions have 
sometimes provoked strong, even violent, responses. Jose 
Bove, the French sheep herder who drove his tractor into a 
McDonald's to fight what he called "culinary imperialism, " is 
one of the better known symbols in a nascent global movement 
to protect and invigorate local foodsheds. It is a movement to 
restore rural areas, enrich poor nations, return wholesome 
foods to cities, and reconnect suburbanites with their land by 
reclaiming lawns, abandoned lots, and golf courses to use as 
local farms, orchards, and gardens. 

Local food is sprouting through the cracks in the long- 
distance food system: rising fuel and transportation costs; the 
near extinction of family farms; loss of farmland to spreading 
suburbs; concerns about the quality and safety of food and the 
craving for some closer connection to it. Long-distance food 
erodes the pleasures of face-to-face interactions around food 
and the security that comes from knowing what one is eating. 
(Eating local might be the best defense against hazards intro- 
duced intentionally or unintentionally in the food supply, 
including E.coli bacteria, genetically modified foods, pesti- 
cide residues, and biowarfare agents.) On a more sensual level, 
locally grown food served fresh and in season has a definite taste 
advantage — one of the reasons this movement has attracted the 
attention of chefs, food critics, and discriminating consumers 
around the globe. 

The local alternative also offers huge economic oppor- 
tunities. In every country, money spent on local produce at 
farmers' markets and locally owned shops stays in the com- 
munity, cycling through to create jobs, raise incomes, and 
support farmers. Developing nations that emphasize greater 
food self-reliance can thereby retain precious foreign exchange 
and avoid the whims of international markets. There is strong 
evidence that local food often costs less than the equivalent 
food bought on the international market or from a super- 
market, because transportation costs are lower and there are 
fewer middlemen. 

But despite its many advantages, the local alternative 



nevertheless stands against the daunting tide of agribusiness 
consolidation, the decline of crop diversity, and the loss of food 
literacy by the average consumer. Change will not come eas- 
ily. Control of the food system has been largely lost to a dwin- 
dling number of food companies. This is what makes the idea 
of eating locally so radical — the fact that communities around 
the world all possess the capacity to regain this control by 
rebuilding local food institutions, such as farmers' markets and 
small-scale food processing facilities. The explosion of farm- 
ers' markets and community-supported agriculture points to 
the growing numbers of consumers, farmers, and food busi- 
nesses that have already shifted their role in the food chain, 
detaching themselves from long-distance cuisine to live within 
their foodsheds. 

The Transcontinental Lettuce 

For the better part of human history, and even as recently 
as several decades ago, most people obtained their food from 
local sources. Statistics on how far food travels are not avail- 
able for most nations. Nonetheless, a survey of trends from a 
number of nations and regions clearly indicates a growing dis- 
tance between the fields and pastures where most food is 
grown and the mouths it feeds. 

Food trade, for instance, has grown nearly threefold since 
1961. Countries shipped $417 billion worth of food and agri- 
cultural goods around the globe in 2000. As the value of agri- 
cultural trade has increased, so has the volume. Today, some 
817 million tons of food are shipped around the planet each 
year — up fourfold from 200 million tons in 1961. (See Figures 
land 2, page ll.) 10 

Surveys of food moving within nations tell the same 
story. (See Figures 3A and B, pages 18 and 19.) Several surveys 
from different wholesale markets in the United States show that 
fruits and vegetables are traveling between 2,500 and 4,000 kilo- 
meters from farm to market, an increase of roughly 20 percent 



in the last two decades. Food eaten in the United Kingdom trav- 
els 50 percent farther on average than two decades ago. Over 
the same period, imports of fruits and vegetables arriving 
there by plane more than tripled, to nearly 120,000 tons a year. 
Trucks moving food now account for nearly 40 percent of all 
road freight in the United Kingdom. 11 

Part of the reason we are moving more food around the 
planet is demographic: there are more people living in cities 
and fewer living near the centers of food production. Perhaps 
more importantly, advances in food technology that allow 
longer storage and more distant (as well as cheaper) shipping 
helped the food system to sprawl. Even though ice-refrigerated 
railroad cars allowed perishable food products to be shipped 
as early as the 1860s, it was major innovations in refrigeration 
engineering after World War II that gave birth to the frozen food 
industry. Scientists also developed techniques to control the 
ripening of fruits, vegetables, and other perishables that fur- 
ther extended shelf-life. Advances in transportation came par- 
ticularly fast — steamships in the mid- 1800s, railroads later in 
the 19th century, the refrigerated truck in the mid-1900s — and 
combined with falling oil prices to dramatically reduce the cost 
of shipping food. It now costs 70 percent less to ship cargo (all 
items, not just food) by sea, and 50 percent less to ship by air, 
than it did 20 years ago. 12 

These innovations in food processing and shipping often 
worked together. For instance, before scientists figured out 
how to make frozen orange juice concentrate, orange growers 
could only ship their fruit fresh, and most people in temper- 
ate regions enjoyed oranges and orange juice only as a seasonal 
delicacy. During World War II — partly responding to requests 
from the U.S. government for an orange juice product that 
could be shipped to troops overseas — American scientists 
developed a process for concentrating the orange juice (reduc- 
ing its bulk and allowing it to be shipped at lower cost), adding 
a small amount of unconcentrated juice to the mixture (which 
greatly improved the flavor), vacuum sealing it in cans, and 
then passing the cans through a freezing tunnel before ship- 
ping in refrigerated oceanliners, box cars, and trucks. This 




Local Versus Imported Ingredients: Iowa 

2,720 km 

The foods going into an "All-Iowa" meal traveled an average of 74 kilometers to 
reach their destination, compared with 2,577 kilometers if they had been 
shipped from the usual distant sources nationwide. Researchers estimated that 
local and regionally sourced meals entailed 4 to 17 times less petroleum 
consumption and 5 to 17 times less carbon dioxide emissions than a meal 
bought from the conventional food chain. 

Source: See Endnote 11. 

process, still in use, revolutionized the orange growing indus- 
try, freeing it from seasonal and geographic constraints, and 
thereby transformed orange juice into a daily ration for many 
Americans and Europeans — and turning frozen orange juice 
into a multibillion-dollar international business. 13 

All this food traffic requires staggering amounts of fuel 
(and probably wouldn't be feasible without abundant and 
cheap oil). Among the biggest culprits are those high-value 
items with relatively low caloric value and high water content, 
such as cut flowers, fruits, vegetables, and frozen foods. (Nutri- 
tionist Joan Gussow of Columbia University describes the 




Local Versus Imported Ingredients: England 

A "traditional" Sunday meal in England— beef, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, beans, 
blueberries, and strawberries— made from imported ingredients generates nearly 
650 times the transport-related carbon emissions than the same meal made from 
locally grown ingredients (almost 38 kilograms of carbon dioxide compared 
with just 58 grams). All the ingredients are available in England for much of the 
year except the fruits, which can either be stored or preserved to extend their 

Source: See Endnote 11. 

process as "burning lots of petroleum to ship cold water 
around.") The transcontinental head of lettuce, grown in the 
Salinas Valley of California and shipped nearly 5,000 kilome- 
ters to Washington, D.C., requires about 36 times as much fos- 
sil fuel energy in transport as it provides in food energy when 
it arrives. By the time this lettuce gets to the United Kingdom, 
the ratio of fuel energy consumed to calories provided jumps 
to 127. "Perishables" — as these goods are known in industry 
jargon — constitute the fastest growing segment (over 4 percent 
per year) of the food cargo business and are increasingly 
shipped by refrigerated plane. 14 



Most international food trade is by boat, and most food 
trade within nations is by rail or truck, all relatively energy effi- 
cient forms of transportation compared with climate-con- 
trolled airplane cargo. And products like grains and 
beans — which pack a great deal of nutrition for a given unit 
of weight — and coffee, tea, chocolate, and spices can all be 
shipped dry, without climate control. Nonetheless, Anika 
Carlsson-Kanyama of Stockholm University has shown that a 
basic diet — some meat, grain, fruits, and vegetables — with 
imported ingredients can easily account for four times the 
energy and four times the greenhouse gas emissions of an 
equivalent diet with ingredients from domestic sources. In 
Britain, food transportation is now among the biggest and 
fastest growing sources of British greenhouse gas emissions — 
a pattern emerging in much of the world. (The climate chang- 
ing implications of a long-distance food system are particularly 
ironic since food production is one of those human endeav- 
ors that is most dependent on a stable climate and will be most 
affected by climatic spasms.) 15 

Much of this shipping seems entirely illogical, as it often 
involves regions and nations importing food they already 
have. A recent survey of trade data from the United Kingdom 
exposed the astonishing reality that the nation imports large 
amounts of milk, pork, lamb, and other major commodities 
even as it exports comparable quantities of the same foods, 
shuttling hundreds of millions of tons of identical food in oppo- 
site directions. Analysts explain this "food swap" as an artifact 
of subsidized transportation, centralized buying by super- 
markets and food manufacturers, and trade agreements that 
set food import quotas even for self-sufficient nations. In the 
case of milk, British milk purchasers (supermarkets and food 
manufacturers) prefer to buy a standardized, predictable com- 
modity in large quantities from a few sources — thus forcing 
British dairy farmers to sell their milk in international markets. 
These same economic forces also explain why the label on a 
bottle of Tropicana brand apple juice says it "contains con- 
centrate from Germany, Austria, Italy, Hungary, Argentina, 
Chile, Turkey, Brazil, China, and the United States." Apart 



from the questionable cost and pollution, a company buying 
whatever produce is cheapest on the world market can have 
no allegiance to place, and the drinker can never really be sure 
what he or she is drinking. (The above list of countries has a 
wide range of pesticide standards.) And as ecological economist 
Herman Daly once remarked about this sort of trade, "Amer- 
icans import Danish sugar cookies, and Danes import Ameri- 
can sugar cookies. Exchanging recipes would surely be more 
efficient." 16 

Meanwhile, as food ends up farther from the soil in 
which it was grown, waste loops are broken. Jerry Goldstein, 
the editor of Biocycle, a magazine that tracks trends in dealing 
with organic waste around the world, notes that the long-dis- 
tance nature of food systems "creates tremendous food waste 
disposal pressures at one end, while eliminating an ideal 
source of plant nutrients and soil-building organic matter for 
agricultural soils, in favor of polluting chemical fertilizers." (Pro- 
grams to collect food waste, compost it, and return it to parks, 
farms, and forest soils have been successfully piloted in super- 
markets, restaurants, and residential neighborhoods around the 
world.) The growth in the distance food travels has also cor- 
responded with an increase in food packaging, as food prod- 
ucts are designed for longer journeys and shelf-lives. Food 
scraps and food packaging now make up a significant share of 
the waste stream in many cities worldwide. In North Ameri- 
can cities, they account for as much as a third of total land- 
filled waste. 17 

The Wal-Mart Effect 

The ability to ship foods long distances created a brutal and 
fierce competition that pitted farmers and food businesses 
everywhere against each other. Before long, big national and 
international conglomerates were muscling in on the traditional 
markets of local farmers and the neighborhood butchers, bak- 
ers, and mom-and-pop grocers. These companies typically 



offered lower prices and one-stop shopping, had the financial 
reserves to weather price wars and economic downturns, and 
often drove the small firms out of business. Among those 
things lost in this process, which continues today, are the 
human connections (the butcher who knows your name and 
favorite cut of meat is replaced by an anonymous employee), 
some convenience if the supermarket is now farther away 
than the neighborhood store, and some degree of choice, if you 
can only buy from one company. Communities also lose some 
control over their food, since it is harder to influence decision- 
making in distant corporate offices. Perhaps the biggest loss is 
the money no longer being recirculated locally, as locally 
owned businesses, stocking locally made products, are replaced 
by stores owned by distant corporations and stocked with 
products from around the globe. 

Ken Meter and Jon Rosales, economists at the Cross- 
roads Resource Center in Minneapolis, describe this process in 
their recent analysis of the economics of farming in south- 
eastern Minnesota, a region emblematic of the American Mid- 
west. Meter and Rosales found that while farmers had sales of 
$866 million in farm products in 1997, they spent $947 mil- 
lion raising this food, primarily as payments for fertilizer, pes- 
ticide, and land made to distant suppliers, creditors, or absentee 
landowners. (If not for federal subsidies, many of these farm- 
ers would not be in business.) Meanwhile, residents of the 
region spent over $500 million buying food, almost exclusively 
from producers and companies based outside of the region. In 
total, Meter and Rosales concluded, the current structure 
"extract[s] about $800 million from the region's economy 
each year. " 18 

Money, jobs, and food hemorrhaging out of local 
economies is not a new trend, but it has been a growing one 
over the last century, as farms become increasingly specialized 
and more and more services are performed off the farm. As food 
is shipped long distances, less of the value of that food tends 
to be retained locally; the shipping, processing, packaging, and 
retailing of the food assumes greater importance than the 
food itself. And as more and more of the services once provided 



by the farm community are out-sourced to other regions or 
nations, the community retains a declining share of the ulti- 
mate profit. In the United States, the share of the consumer's 
food dollar that trickles back to the farming community has 
plunged from over 40 cents in 1910 to just above 7 cents in 
1997, while the share going to an ever-shrinking number of 
processing, shipping, brokerage, advertising, and retailing 
firms has continued to expand. 19 

Think about the business model of Wal-Mart. At a stroke, 
a new Wal-Mart store can (and does) absorb the business that 
once flowed into a variety of small, locally owned bakers, 
grocers, butchers, dairies, farmers' markets, and other outlets. 
(Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, recently became the 
world's second largest food retailer.) Any local business is 
fairly limited in the number of customers it can sell to. But a 
national or multinational firm can sell to millions of cus- 
tomers in thousands of markets around the world every day. 
Moreover, consolidation at one link in the chain fuels con- 
solidation at every level of the food business, from the farm 
to the supermarket retailer. (See Box 1, page 24.) "The rela- 
tionship between production and marketing is symbiotic," 
according to Helena Norberg-Hodge of the International Soci- 
ety for Ecology and Culture, a group that studies the impact 
of globalization on local cultures. "Large-scale, specialized 
agriculture is best suited to a global and centralized market, and 
vice versa." It's simply impractical for McDonald's, for exam- 
ple, to source the potatoes for its French fries or the milk for 
its shakes from thousands of small farms and dairies. (As 
noted earlier, to keep down transaction costs and to ensure stan- 
dard products, exporters and other downstream players prefer 
to buy from a few large producers.) 20 

Economists have long argued that consumers, farmers, 
and food companies would all benefit from greater trade in 
foodstuffs, both within nations and between nations, and 
would argue that this is precisely the reason why this food sys- 
tem has become so dominant. But at the national and inter- 
national levels, policies have long been biased towards large, 
specialized farms that are not focused on local markets, and 



BOX 1 

Concentration in Various Layers of Agribusiness 

In 1980, the United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations published 
an analysis of the world's 1 80 most important food and beverage companies, 
identifying significant levels of market concentration in segments such as dairy, 
meat, tropical fruits, grain, and tropical beverages. Hope Shand at the ETC Group, 
based in Canada, recently tried to replicate this study. Shand found that barely 
a third of the original 180 companies exists today, and that "nearly all of the 
others have been absorbed into the surviving third." For instance, 65 companies 
were major competitors in the world pesticide market in 1980. Today, just five 
companies control 65 percent of the global pesticide market. 

Business Sector Description 

Agrochemicals Five companies control 65 percent of the global pesticide market. 

Seeds The top 10 seed firms control 30 percent of the global seed 

market; 5 companies control 75 percent of the global vegeta- 
ble seed market. 

Trade The top five grain trading enterprises control more than 75 per- 

cent of the world market for cereals. A handful of transnational 
companies control about 90 percent of the global trade in cof- 
fee, cocoa, and pineapples; about 80 percent of the tea trade; 
70 percent of the banana market; and more than 60 percent of 
the sugar trade. 

Meat One firm controls 60 percent of chicken purchases in Central 

America. In the United States, four companies control over 80 
percent of beef packing, and five companies pack 75 percent 
of the pork. 

Retail Five retailers control 50 percent or more of all food purchases 

in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Two firms control 
over 80 percent of Hong Kong's retail market. Between 1994 
and 1999, the share of the retail sector in Brazil controlled by 
the top 10 supermarkets grew from 23 percent to 44 percent. 
Wal-Mart, the second largest food retailer in the world, recently 
purchased a major stake in the fifth-largest Japanese food 

Source: See Endnote 20. 

against small, diversified farms that are. Subsidies for fossil fuels, 
roads and other transportation infrastructure, and for com- 
modity production, for instance, all make food shipped round 



the world in a refrigerated cargo container, wrapped in layers 
of plastic, and grown on a highly polluting farm look artificially 
cheap. Proponents of the current system argue that it has suc- 
ceeded because it is better and more efficient, but this is only 
true to the extent that many of the costs are not accounted 
for — from food safety threats to wasteful burning of fossil 
fuels to a loss of economic life in farm communities. 

In many cases, the shift away from local production has 
not been entirely voluntary. "The more a nation is con- 
strained — by International Monetary Fund and World Bank 
loans that require nations to open up markets, by heavily 
subsidized food imports from the First World which squash local 
production, by regional and global trade agreements — the less 
voluntary is that nation's shift towards liberalization, " accord- 
ing to David Seddon, a professor of development studies at the 
University of Norwich in East Anglia. Many developing nations 
launched export-oriented agricultural strategies in the 1970s 
as a response to structural adjustment programs that called for 
reductions in subsidies for staple food crops in favor of sup- 
ports for export crops. 21 

This pressure from international institutions continued 
through the 1990s with trade agreements and organizations 
that covered food, including the North American Free Trade 
Agreement (NAFTA), MERCOSUR (a South American trade 
pact), and the World Trade Organization. Some of this pressure 
came from politicians, economists, and corporations that 
strongly believed in open borders as the means to prosperity. 
Opening domestic agricultural markets, economists typically 
argue, will help reduce hunger and poverty by stimulating 
investment in developing world agriculture and generating new 
export revenue through greater access to First- World con- 
sumer markets. But in many cases, exports have had completely 
the opposite effect. 22 

Consider the recent experience of Mexico. As a result of 
its membership in NAFTA and its ongoing integration into the 
international food market, Mexico is importing more and 
more of its corn from the United States and elsewhere. Since 
NAFTA took effect in 1994, imports of corn to Mexico from the 



United States have increased 18-fold and now account for 
one-quarter of Mexican corn. Corn from the United States is 
less expensive, largely because its production is heavily sub- 
sidized by the U.S. government. But the price tag for Mexico 
includes a mass exodus of corn farmers from the countryside 
and the loss of the country's corn diversity. 23 

" Centuries of experience with global trade show that as 
soon as you open yourself up to global markets/' says David 
Seddon, "the risks are high." On the one hand, international 
commodity prices can drop and wipe out a nation's export rev- 
enues; on the import side, meanwhile, the value of its currency 
can drop and cause the price of food imports to soar. If Mex- 
ico's currency plunges in value or the dollar gets stronger, or 
there is some other disruption in the global economy, then the 
cheap American corn could suddenly jump out of Mexicans' 
reach. This is precisely what happened in 1996, when world 
grain prices spiked and starving Mexican campesinos, who had 
been driven off their land by the previous two years of low 
prices, were forced to loot grain cars for food. An analysis of 
the NAFTA years has shown that while Mexican corn farmers 
lost money and market share, the price of corn in Mexico sky- 
rocketed. The original center of corn diversity has now become 
dependent on other nations for a food which pervades its 
culture, diet, and economy. 24 

In her analysis of the fruit and vegetable export industries 
in Latin America, Bittersweet Harvest, Lori Ann Thrupp describes 
how local communities can suffer as farmers replace fields grow- 
ing staple crops for local consumption with baby broccoli, car- 
rots, and other export crops for distant mouths. "In many cases, 
farmers do not make enough money from the venture to pur- 
chase food," Thrupp explains, "so their food security suffers 
when they are enticed into cash crop production." She notes 
that in most export-oriented agriculture the main beneficiar- 
ies are large companies involved in the processing, packaging, 
and marketing of these crops, including a growing number of 
international firms. (Even in nations like the United States and 
Canada, which are strong enough to shape trade agreements 
to their advantage, liberalization hasn't helped rural commu- 



nities. During the NAFTA years, both of these nations have seen 
commodity prices and farmer incomes plummet, as the com- 
panies that trade and process agricultural commodities reaped 
windfall profits.) 25 

While the idea of complete food self-sufficiency may be 
impractical for rich and poor nations alike, greater self-suffi- 
ciency can buffer nations against the whims of international 
markets. In fact, rebuilding local food systems might offer 
the first genuine economic opportunity in farm country in 
years, a pressing need in view of the huge amounts of money 
leaking out of rural communities. To the extent that functions 
associated with food production and distribution are relo- 
cated in the community under local ownership, more money 
will circulate in the local community to generate more jobs and 
income. This is particularly true if crops are not only grown 
locally, but also processed locally or served in local restaurants. 
A study by the New Economics Foundation in London found 
that every £10 spent at a local food business is worth £25 for 
the local area, compared with just £14 when the same amount 
is spent in a supermarket — that is, a pound (or dollar, peso, or 
rupee) spent locally generates nearly twice as much income for 
the local economy. 26 

This sort of multiplier is perhaps most important in the 
developing world, where the vast majority of people are still 
employed in agriculture. In West Africa, for example, each $1 
of new farm income yields an income increase in the local 
economy ranging from $1.96 in Niger to $2.88 in Burkina 
Faso — increases that do not come when people spend money 
on imported foods. And the growing prosperity of millions of 
small farms in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan following 
World War II is widely cited as the major stimulus of the dra- 
matic economic boom those countries enjoyed. These "Asian 
miracles" provide the clearest evidence that alternatives to 
export-led growth work and have worked before, according 
to Peter Rosset, director of the Institute for Food and Devel- 
opment Policy. "For this sort of development to work as it did 
in East Asia," says Rosset, "the money spent on food must recir- 
culate within the local economy, rather than leak out by 



depending on foreign food sources/' 270 

This is not to argue that every locale should produce all 
of its food. A certain amount of food trade is natural and ben- 
eficial. (Essayist and farmer Wendell Berry has suggested that 
communities should not be exporting food before local needs 
are met and should not be importing foods that can be read- 
ily produced at home.) Whether North Americans and Euro- 
peans continue to depend on imported oranges is less of a 
concern than whether communities are developing their 
capacity to meet as many of their basic food needs as possible. 
To the extent that they are, thousands or millions of local busi- 
nesses will capture much of the planet's food trade instead of 
a handful of multinationals. 28 

Making Food Deserts Bloom 

The foundation of a local food system is crop diversity. A 
local population cannot subsist on one or two crops, 
which is the norm in the midwestern United States or any of 
the other industrial farming regions of the world. Nor can a local 
population subsist economically on one or two crops. "Crop 
diversity not only makes a diverse diet possible/' says Katy 
Mamen of the International Society for Ecology and Culture 
(ISEC), "but it also guarantees the existence of local farmers and 
a range of food related businesses." Mamen has worked in 
Ladakh, a small mountainous region in the Indian state of 
Jammu-Kashmir, which produced nearly all of its own food for 
generations. But money that Ladakhis used to spend buying 
vegetables grown locally (or barley milled locally or butter 
churned locally) now fills the coffers of Coca-Cola, Nestle, and 
other food companies. "Ladakhis have begun to realize that tra- 
ditional foods and farming skills are incredibly precious," says 
Mamen, "and that meeting as many of their basic needs as pos- 
sible close to home offers a certain freedom from the very 
unstable flux in the value of their currency." To reawaken 
interest in the local food culture, ISEC helped start the Women's 



Alliance of Ladakh, a group that now has 4,000 members, 
about one-fifth of the adult population. This group has become 
a vigorous steward of traditional agriculture, initiating a seed 
saving program to preserve local crop varieties as well as a mar- 
ket for selling and bartering only local crops, including local 
varieties of mustard, peas, beans, and barley. The crops must 
be grown locally by women farmers — a sort of procurement 
standard that keeps money in the local economy. 29 

Alejandro Argumedo of the Association for Nature Con- 
servation and Sustainable Development (ANDES), a group 
based in Cuzco, Peru, also knows that efforts to preserve tra- 
ditional crop varieties are essential for shoring up the local econ- 
omy. Argumedo explains that polyculture (complex plantings 
of multiple crops and multiple varieties) requires a highly 
sophisticated and intimate knowledge of the land — something 
small-scale, full-time farmers can more readily provide than can 
the proprietors of large, highly mechanized farms. In the case 
of the Peruvian Andes, the crop mix often includes dozens of 
potato varieties, numerous other root crops, and assorted 
greens, beans, and herbs, all in the same field. ANDES has 
helped communities set up "Potato Parks," areas of farmland 
in which networks of farmers are cataloguing the potato vari- 
eties (sometimes as many as 40 per farm) as "pre-patented" 
under international law. Since Peru is the center of global 
potato diversity — the stock of seed that potato farmers and 
breeders around the world depend on for resilience against major 
pest outbreaks or climatic shifts — preserving this local food 
economy is also of significant interest to the rest of the planet. 30 

There is a strong economic argument to be made for pre- 
serving this local crop diversity, since it helps to reduce depend- 
ence on expensive agrochemicals and other inputs. Studies 
have shown that diverse organic and ecological farms, which 
rely less on purchased inputs and more on taking advantage of 
the ecological processes in the field, cost less to maintain and 
make more efficient use of land, nutrients, energy, and other 
inputs, than do chemical-intensive monocultures. 31 

But there is a strong ecological argument for crop diver- 
sity as well. When farmers produce for local (rather than 



export) markets, their customer base diversifies considerably. 
The odds of success are consequently enhanced by offering 
a wider variety of products and so they are encouraged to plant 
a wider range of crops. Tim and Jan Deane, who run the 13- 
hectare Northwood Farms in the Teign Valley in Devon, Eng- 
land, greatly diversified their crop mix after shifting to serving 
the local market through a community supported agriculture 
(CSA) scheme. When they sold to the wholesale market, the 
Deanes grew 15 to 18 crops per season, but their mix expanded 
to between 50 and 60 per season once they refocused on the 
local market. Their operation also began to turn a profit for 
the first time since they set up the farm in 1984 (and their veg- 
etables traveled shorter distances to the point of sale.) In 
this way, local food systems can help counter the over- 
whelming and ecologically destructive global trend toward 

The relationship between local crop diversity and the 
degree of local self-sufficiency holds even for a single type of 
food. Consider the example of apples in Britain. As recently as 
1965, Britain was largely self-sufficient in dessert apples (apples 
for direct consumption, not canning or baking). This self- 
reliance depended in part on the production of a wide diver- 
sity of apples — there are over 2,000 varieties in the National 
Collection of the U.K. — that ripened and were harvested 
throughout the year. Most varieties were harvested in late 
summer and fall, but early varieties like Discovery and Beauty 
of Bath ripened in April and May, while late varieties like 
Cox's Orange Pippen and Greensleeves could be harvested 
well into the winter. (See Figure 4.) In the last 30 years, as less 
expensive apples began streaming in from abroad and as 
supermarkets and apple processors required higher degrees of 
standardization, British farmers replaced 60 percent of their 
apple orchards with other crops. British orchards are now 
dominated by two or three "commercially desirable" varieties 
with a relatively narrow harvest season, crippling the poten- 
tial to regain self-sufficiency. Today, only 25 percent of the 
apples eaten in Britain are home-grown. 33 

One of the strongest implications of the global food 



Seasonal Availability of a Selection of British Apples 

Cox's Orange Pippin 


Egremont Russet 

Early July 


Beauty of Bath 


Gloster 69 


Jersey mac 


John Hugget 


Tydemans Late Orange 
White Transparent 
Vista Bella 
Worcester Pearmain 
Adams Pearmain 

/ </ / • 

V A 

s 5 s 5 

o u ^ u <f 


1. Early varieties such as Discovery, Early July, and Beauty of Bath cannot be stored for 
long periods. 

2. All other varieties can be stored until late winter and spring of the following year in a 
traditional fruit store. 

Source: See Endnote 33. 

chain is that the ability of regions to produce their own food 
year-round is obsolete. But in those poor communities that are 
not attractive to distant food companies, the best hope for good 
nutrition will continue to be local food. As rural areas begin 
serving distant markets, they produce less and less food for local 
consumption and must import foodstuffs that could be locally 
grown, given the right incentives. Fewer home gardens, fewer 
greenhouses, fewer root cellars, and fewer farmers' markets 
mean fewer places to sell and buy local produce. Consolida- 
tion throughout the food chain has tended to focus on the most 



lucrative markets, leaving people in remote rural areas with lim- 
ited food options, such as convenience stores with few nutri- 
tious selections and high prices. Doug O'Brien, director of 
public policy for America's Second Harvest, the nation's largest 
food relief organization, describes people in the midwestern 
United States "going to a food bank for a box of cornflakes to 
feed their children in a community where thousands of acres 
are devoted to growing the corn for the cornflakes, or even more 
ironically, for 'feeding the world/" 34 

Rural sociologists now argue that the term "food deserts," 
originally coined to describe inner-city urban areas with no 
green grocers or fresh-food options, is a fitting description of 
many rural areas. In these areas, there is a strong nutritional 
imperative to promote local crop diversity. The higher degree 
of self-reliance afforded by more diversified farms can be an 
important way of protecting health and nutrition, by ensur- 
ing that diets are more diverse, less processed, and richer in fresh 
fruits and vegetables. Historically, local-source diets have gen- 
erally been healthy for the people living in the area (except 
when there was not enough food at all). In fact, nutritionists 
argue that much of the rise of obesity and obesity-related ill- 
nesses around the world can be attributed to the spread of a 
distinctly non-local diet, that is, the fast-food diet that origi- 
nated in the United States and is defined by large amounts of 
meat, fried foods, sugar, and highly processed fare. 35 

The nutritional fallout that comes from the loss of local 
food diversity has landed heavily on indigenous populations. 
Treated by governments as second-class citizens, relocated to 
the poorest lands, and inundated with poor quality surplus 
food, native people around the world typically suffer from high 
levels of diet-related illness. The Oodham Indians of the Amer- 
ican Southwest, for instance, suffer from one of the highest 
recorded rates of adult-onset diabetes in the world. But they 
have found that many of the native, locally available foods that 
their ancestors enjoyed — like mesquite flour, prickly pear fruit 
and pads, tepary beans, and cholla buds — are high in fiber and 
low in cholesterol and saturated fat, and generally help reduce 
the incidence of diabetes. In addition to the nutritional ben- 



efits, recent efforts to revive cultivation of these plants have 
have helped to reinvigorate the cultural traditions — harvest cer- 
emonies, use as religious offerings, medicinal applications — 
tied to the foods. Since 1997, demand for the traditional foods 
in the Oodham communities has grown five-fold. 36 

The potential to meet local need from local production 
will vary from place to place, particularly where a deficiency 
of good soil, appropriate climate, or enough land and fresh 
water will prevent major increases in self-sufficiency. But a com- 
parison of local consumption and production patterns can often 
point to significant untapped opportunities. Nutritionist Jen- 
nifer Wilkins and colleagues at Cornell University studied the 
food production and consumption patterns in New York state, 
and found that farmers were producing many times more of 
some crops (sweet corn, beets, and pumpkins) than could be 
consumed locally, but only a fraction of local demand of oth- 
ers (broccoli, carrots, and kale). In the former case, farmers were 
forced to sell the surplus into distant wholesale markets. In the 
latter, the farmers were missing opportunities to tap into lucra- 
tive local markets. "Many of the crops that New York farmers 
were underproducing relative to New York demand," Wilkins 
notes, "were those same nutritious foods — green leafy veg- 
etables — that are most lacking in New Yorkers' diets." 37 

The notion of local food takes on a very different mean- 
ing on a planet where roughly half of the population lives in 
cities, a share projected to grow in coming decades. As more 
people reside farther from where their food is produced, food 
will have to be moved accordingly. Cities may never be able 
to satisfy all of their food needs from nearby farmland. But the 
tremendous infrastructure, energy, and other costs of shuttling 
food into densely populated areas argues for cities to try to 
secure as much of their food as possible from farmland within 
and near urban areas. 38 

Jac Smit of the Urban Agriculture Network feels that tak- 
ing advantage of land in and around cities is essential and the 
benefits of doing so obvious. Beyond providing urbanites with 
a source of fresh food, shifting farming to the cities can spur 
food businesses and help urban areas cope with a range of press- 



ing ecological, social, and nutritional challenges, from sprawl 
to malnutrition to swelling landfills. "In contrast to pure open 
space or parks, forms of greenspace which taxpayers generally 
have to finance, " Smit notes, "urban agriculture can be a 
functioning business that pays for itself/' In a survey conducted 
for the United Nations, Smit estimated that cities already pro- 
duce about one-third of the food consumed by their residents 
on average, using about one-third of their land. (See Box 2, 
pages 36 and 37. ) 39 

Some nations have shown that there is even more poten- 
tial. Cuba now depends heavily on urban food production; an 
estimated 90 percent of the fresh produce consumed in Havana 
is grown in and around the city. This shift to urban agriculture 
was largely prompted by the U.S. embargo and then the Soviet 
collapse, which left Cuba without agrochemicals, farm machin- 
ery, food imports, or petroleum, hobbling Cuba's capacity to 
produce food and to ship food from the country to the city. 
Confronted with massive shortages of fruit, vegetables, and 
other foodstuffs in Cuban cities, government officials set up 
a loose network of local extension offices that help Cubans 
obtain vacant land, seeds, water, and gardening assistance. 
Egidio Paez of the Cuban Association of Agricultural and 
Forestry Technicians notes that "the growth and spread of 
cities invariably creates many empty spaces... which often 
become trash-dumps that are sources of mosquitoes, rats, and 
other disease vectors." Cuba's urban farmers raise food with- 
out pesticides or chemical fertilizers, and the close proximity 
to lots of people makes urban agriculture particularly suited to 
such organic food production. 40 

Unfortunately, city politicians, businesses, and planners 
continue to regard food as a rural issue that does not demand 
the same attention as housing, crime, or transportation, accord- 
ing to Kameshwari Pothukuchi of the Department of Geogra- 
phy and Urban Planning at Wayne State University in Detroit, 
Michigan. This neglect, and the fact that many urbanites take 
the food system for granted, have been reinforced by the 
nature of the long-distance food system itself, which ensures 
that "even when suburbs and exurbs swept through previously 



rural terrain, the loss of local farmland that historically served 
cities went unnoticed in local grocery stores." 41 

But as Cuba's experience shows, local food production 
might be the best option for feeding those urbanites who 
have been neglected by the long-distance food chain. In both 
the industrial and the developing worlds, poorer urban house- 
holds typically spend a greater share of their income on food 
than wealthier urbanites, partly because poor households can- 
not afford to buy food in bulk and partly because inner-city 
slums have a shortage of food shops. In the First World, super- 
markets have departed the inner cities to milk the more lucra- 
tive suburban markets, after pushing many of the independent 
mom-and-pop grocers out of business and leaving whole city 
neighborhoods with only fast-food joints and convenience 
stores. 42 

Wayne Roberts of the Toronto Food Policy Council feels 
that local agriculture might have an even wider impact on 
urban and suburban welfare: first, by supplying urbanites with 
more fresh fruits and vegetables, and second, by affording 
them the exercise involved in raising food. Roberts notes that 
obesity is epidemic in Canada, as in most wealthy nations and 
even in many Third World cities, and that the presence of 
food production in cities can radically change people's attitude 
towards food: "Instead of pop and candy vending machines plas- 
tering the cityscape, people see fresh fruits and vegetables." 43 

Farmers as Entrepreneurs 

Groups like the Women's Alliance of Ladakh and ANDES 
know that growing food is only the first step in preserv- 
ing local crops and local farming. The farmers need a market. 
This is why ANDES has been reviving the east-to-west food trad- 
ing corridor started by the Incas thousands of years ago (which 
stretches from the Andean highlands in the west to the Ama- 
zonian lowlands in the east) and plans to open a restaurant in 
Cuzco that will feature local foods. Farmers and local com- 



BOX 2 

Farming the Cities 

People have been growing food in cities for thousands of years. (The hanging 
gardens in Babylon, for instance, are an example of urban agriculture, while resi- 
dents of the ancient desert cities of Iran, Syria, and Iraq produced vegetables in 
home gardens.) This is partly because cities have traditionally sprung up on the 
best farmland— the same flat land that is good for farming is also easiest for build- 
ing—and partly because the masses of people in cities creates a great market for 
fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Urban agriculture does, however, pose certain problems, such as theft, poor 
sun-exposure because of surrounding buildings, and pollution. The risk of 
contaminants in the soil, like heavy metals or dioxins, as a result of car exhaust or 
urban industry means that most urban farmers and gardeners need to test their 
soil before planting. (Rural soils, exposed to decades of agrochemical use as 
well as possible industrial toxins, are not immune to this problem either.) 

These concerns and other characteristics of the urban landscape force city 
farmers to be particularly creative and resourceful. Gardeners in Vancouver, 
British Columbia, and Bogota, Colombia, are taking advantage of the abundant 
and well-lit surface area on rooftops by raising fruits, vegetables, salad greens, 
and sprouts there. Farmers and fishers on the eastern coast of Calcutta, India, 
raise fish and vegetables in marshes fed by the city's nutrient-rich sewage. In 
Rosario, Argentina, slum dwellers sort the organic matter out of the city's 
garbage and compost it for use in their own gardens or to sell as a fertilizer. 

Worldwide, the United Nations Development Programme estimates that 800 
million people are engaged in urban agriculture, the majority in Asian cities. Of 
these, 200 million are producing primarily for the market and the rest are raising 
food for their own families. 

Similar evidence of extensive urban agriculture can be seen elsewhere: 
Africa— In Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania, Africa's fastest growing city, urban agricul- 
ture is the second-largest source of employment. In 1999, urban farms produced 
90 percent of the leafy greens consumed in the city. Bamako, Mali's capital city, 
is self-sufficient in vegetable production, and urbanites raise much of the city's 
milk, butter, and meat. Studies from several African cities have shown that fami- 
lies engaged in urban agriculture eat better, as measured by caloric and protein 
intake or children's growth rates. 

Asia— In Hanoi, it is estimated that 80 percent of fresh vegetables, 50 percent of 
pork, poultry, and freshwater fish, and 40 percent of eggs originate in urban and 
periurban areas. In Shanghai, 60 percent of the vegetables, more than half of 
the pork and poultry, and more than 90 percent of milk and eggs originate in the 
city. In Bangkok, the vast majority of leafy vegetables, such as Chinese mustard, 
spinach, or lettuce, are grown within the city. 

Latin America— In the Brazilian Amazon, one in three households in the city of 
Belem grow food, medicinal plants, or domestic animals. In Cuba in 1999, the 



Box 2 (continued) 

last year for which there are good data, urban farmers produced an average of 
215 grams of fruits and vegetables per day per person, and, in many cities 
(including Havana, Cienfuegos, and Sancti Spiritus) the average well exceeded 
the 300-gram-per-day target set by Cuban health ministers. Much of this produc- 
tion came from the 104,087 small urban and suburban gardens in the form of 
patios, container plants, and "popular gardens" in small spaces between houses 
and streets. 

Europe— More than half of the nearly 5 million residents of St. Petersburg grow 
some food in back yards and basements, on rooftops, in vacant spaces near 
houses, or in dachas on the city edges. In the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, 
where almost one-third of the country lives, farms that grow vegetables, flowers, 
and wine-quality grapes are common along roadsides or in the spaces left by 
urban sprawl. Almost 10 percent of Greater London's area is farmland, 
controlled by around 30,000 allotment gardeners, including 1,000 beekeepers. 
North America— In the United States, 79 percent of total fruit production, 69 
percent of vegetables, and 52 percent of dairy products are grown in metropoli- 
tan counties or fast-growing adjacent counties. The number of community 
gardens in Toronto more than doubled from between 1991 and 2001, from 50 
to 122, and a Toronto nonprofit has made a successful business of growing 
sprouts and other specialty vegetables on the roof of a warehouse. 

Source: See Endnote 39. 

munities hoping to take back some of the food economy from 
distant multinationals will need to provide more of the pro- 
cessing, packaging, and marketing services that have moved 
off the farm and out of sight. Communities with these varied 
capacities can replace the vertical integration that now takes 
place at the corporate level, in which one multinational con- 
trols the means of crop production, processing, distribution, 
and retailing. 44 

This entrepreneurial approach to farming is, unfortu- 
nately, unknown to most farmers, and has long been neglected 
in agricultural training and policy. Jules Pretty of the Univer- 
sity of Essex notes that in both the post- World War II policies 
of the industrial world and the Green Revolution policies of 
the Third World, "the major message to farmers was to just get 
on with producing the stuff [food] and leave the other links 
in the chain to someone else." (Not surprisingly, this attitude 
coincided with the advent of subsidies for commodity pro- 



duction and the arrival of the first supermarkets in North 
America and Europe.) In developing nations, simply produc- 
ing enough raw food for growing populations seemed to be the 
biggest challenge and became the top priority. "What little 
emphasis there is on marketing tends to focus on mass mar- 
keting of generic agricultural commodities," says Pretty. A 
British government commission that identified substantial 
business opportunities in local foods also noted that, for nearly 
half of farmers, lack of technical knowledge — about growing 
new crops or a more complex crop mix, food processing, and 
business and marketing — was one of the main barriers to 
developing a local food business. This lack of an entrepreneurial 
emphasis seems to be widespread in the developing world as 
well. Pretty surveyed over 200 agricultural development proj- 
ects from Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and found just 12 
to 15 percent to have any sort of marketing or processing 
component. 45 

Farmers' cooperatives, which farmers form to increase 
their collective power, have also reinforced this neglect of 
marketing. The traditional cooperative, with its focus on a sin- 
gle commodity, has pigeon-holed the farmer into producing 
the lowest value input in the food chain. Survival in the mod- 
ern food chain demands a much different sort of farmers' 
group and a move from the single-commodity focus of the past 
to a strategy that is more nimble and more attentive to local 
consumer demands. 

Farmers' markets are perhaps the most obvious example 
of farmers taking back some of the profits captured by agribusi- 
ness, and the most obvious outlet for people wanting to sup- 
port local farms. The available data show that interest in this 
institution is soaring. The number of farmers' markets in the 
United States has grown from nearly 300 in the mid-1970s to 
1,755 in 1994 and more than 3,100 today. Approximately 3 mil- 
lion people visit these markets each week and spend over $1 
billion each year. Just a few years after the first farmers' mar- 
ket opened in Bath in late 1997, the United Kingdom now 
boasts over 300, with an estimated $100 million in annual sales. 
(These statistics refer to the recent movement in which farm- 



ers are behind the stalls, not the long history of produce mar- 
kets run by non-growers dating back to the beginning of his- 
tory in most countries around the world.) 46 

Farmers' markets not only help the farmer retain a greater 
share of what is spent on the food — growers retain more of 
every dollar they take in, compared with selling their goods to 
the wholesale market — but the absence of middlemen may also 
mean lower prices for consumers. Case studies from places as 
diverse as the United States, the United Kingdom, and Costa 
Rica show that a given basket of produce purchased at a farm- 
ers' market is often cheaper than the same produce purchased 
at a nearby supermarket. In a food system defined by stan- 
dardization, mass distribution, and economies of scale, farm- 
ers' markets also seem to be ideally suited for small or beginning 
farmers, offering them an opportunity to market relatively small 
volumes of produce and to experiment with new crops and 
products. 47 

Another popular form of direct marketing, already men- 
tioned, is subscription farming, or community supported agri- 
culture arrangements, a name that implies some of the social 
and economic bonds associated with the arrangement. Mem- 
bers of a subscription scheme generally pay the farmer for a 
yearly share of the farm's output before the start of the grow- 
ing season and then receive regular deliveries of fruits and 
vegetables as they become available. (Members might also vol- 
unteer, or be required, to help in farm chores or marketing activ- 
ities.) Many CSA schemes donate shares to needy families, 
soup kitchens, halfway houses, and food banks, or offer slid- 
ing scale subscriptions to ensure that their clienteles are not just 
the wealthy. Again, where data are available, they show that 
interest in this institution is growing rapidly. The number of CSA 
operations in the United States has grown from one in 1985 to 
over 1,000 today. In the United Kingdom, there are now over 
200 certified organic vegetable box delivery schemes alone. 48 

Beyond the standard economic benefits of dealing directly 
with the customer, the up-front payment bolsters the farmers' 
cash flow. Because subscribers expect to receive whatever crops 
are thriving, the farmer has a guaranteed outlet for in-season 



produce and unexpectedly big yields. Like the farmers' mar- 
ket shopper, the subscriber gets produce that doesn't have to 
travel far or have a long shelf-life, and therefore is likely 
fresher, tastier, harvested at the peak of ripeness, and yet not 
fumigated, refrigerated, or packaged. Subscription schemes 
and farmers' markets can also both play a role in raising aware- 
ness of food-related issues among consumers, using newslet- 
ters or simple conversation to share recipes, nutrition advice, 
or information on political issues that affect farming. 49 

The success of these direct marketing efforts points to the 
serious constituency for rebuilding local foodsheds. This suc- 
cess is, to some extent, a testament to the high quality of the 
produce and the social interactions they offer. But these direct 
marketing schemes might also be the easiest part of rebuild- 
ing a local foodshed, in the sense that farmers' markets, CSA 
arrangements, and other direct marketing schemes operate 
under the radar of the conventional food chain, in the niche 
for fresh, high-quality food connected to a real person that will 
never be filled by anonymous supermarkets and multina- 
tional food companies. 

As farmers get into the business of processing and adopt 
more sophisticated marketing schemes, finding space in a 
market dominated by giants will be a major challenge. Some 
of the most intense consolidation in the food chain has 
occurred at the end farthest from the farmer — in processing, 
distribution, and retailing — and these markets are now closely 
guarded. "In trying to get beyond the exchange of raw fruits 
and vegetables," says Andy Fischer, director of the U.S. -based 
Community Food Security Coalition, "it's not easy to find 
the local packing house or slaughterhouse or cannery. In most 
communities, the dairy is gone, the cheesemaker is gone, 
even the bakery is gone, because of intense consolidation and 
mergers in agribusiness." 50 

Today's food processing and retailing units tend to be very 
large and centrally located, making them inconvenient to 
smaller, local initiatives. There needs to be "something between 
Sysco and CSAs," explains Jack Kloppenburg, a sociologist at 
the University of Wisconsin, referring to the largest institutional 



food supplier in North America ($22 billion in annual sales). 
This daunting void "between Sysco and CSAs" may hold the 
greatest money-making opportunity for communities, allow- 
ing larger farms and food companies to tap into the interest 
in local foods and making it possible for a broader range of con- 
sumers to buy local foods. 51 

Taking Back the Market 

Many of these opportunities will be too ambitious and 
complex for any one farmer to tackle, and so launching 
these mid-level food start-ups will often depend on farmers 
pooling their resources in ways that have not always been typ- 
ical for the farm community — a community defined by inde- 
pendent-minded folks. 

Consider the work of the Association for Better Land 
Husbandry (ABLH) in Kenya. This group helped to set up and 
coordinate 16 marketing cooperatives so that local growers can 
capture the marketing and distribution advantages that come 
with scale. "Instead of each of several thousand farmers buy- 
ing their own delivery truck and setting up their own marketing 
offices," says Jane Turn, an ABLH extensionist, "the coopera- 
tive can pool its resources for a much larger delivery truck and 
marketing staff." Co-op produce is now selling in both local 
and national markets under the "Farmer's Own" brand name. 
The co-op also markets energy bars, cooking sauces, and other 
food items made from locally produced crops as a way to earn 
farmers a higher price for their harvest than it gets in the raw 
form. Another group in Kenya, the International Center for 
Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), has helped farmers 
shift over to the cultivation of various aromatic and medici- 
nal herbs, which are made in local processing shops into a prod- 
uct called NaturRub (a remedy for chest colds named after the 
better-known Vicks VapoRub, which NaturRub is now com- 
peting against in Kenyan supermarkets). 52 

These projects are in stark contrast to efforts by the 



Kenyan government to promote the horticultural export mar- 
ket. In that scheme, the ultimate customers for flowers and veg- 
etables are European consumers thousands of kilometers away 
and most of the profits leave Kenya. But the organizers of the 
ABLH and ICIPE cooperatives have enough market savvy to 
know that "NaturRub and Mchuzi Mix [a cooking sauce] will 
not be the farmer's ultimate economic salvation/' says Jim 
Cheatle, the director of ABLH. "The trick is to teach farmers 
how to innovate, to develop a new product, and to expand into 
local markets/' all skills that Cheatle knows are not typically 
taught to farmers. 53 

This lack of information and expertise seems to be a par- 
ticular problem in the case of small-scale food processing. 
"Farmers are rarely trained in basic processing of agricultural 
products," according to Sue Azam-Ali, coordinator of agro- 
processing programs at the International Technology Devel- 
opment Group (ITDG), "even though such processing can be 
a major source of jobs and additional income." ITDG links up 
with local organizations to provide training and support to 
would-be food processors and entrepreneurs. The emphasis is 
on businesses that are flexible, require little capital invest- 
ment, and can be run in the home without the need for 
sophisticated or expensive equipment. Among the projects are 
cereal milling in Peru, snack food production in Bangladesh, 
and fruit and vegetable drying in the Sudan. 54 

One of the more successful projects involved making 
peanut butter in Zimbabwe. After a factory closing that left their 
husbands out of work, four women living in Chitungwiza, a 
satellite town of Harare, decided to go into the peanut butter 
business. They realized that the peanut butter they and their 
neighbors were regularly buying was made by foreign-owned 
companies, using imported nuts. They thought that if they 
could buy peanuts from local farmers, they could produce 
the butter locally and more cheaply, saving households money 
and supporting local growers. With the help of ITDG, the 
women formed Fadzavanhu Enterprises, developed a business 
plan, and secured a small loan to buy an electric mill. "The proj- 
ect has reached a high level of self-sufficiency, is turning a seri- 



ous profit, and has been completely handed over to local 
management/' Azam-Ali notes with pride. Fadzavanhu is now 
investing in a second mill, and locals can rent time on these 
mills to grind their own nuts. Local testimonials confirm the 
high quality of the Fadzavanhu product, which sells in local 
stores and supermarkets for 15 percent less than mainstream 
brands. (Women, who traditionally possess cooking and other 
food-processing skills, are particularly well positioned to make 
money from agroprocessing ventures.) 55 

"For the developing world, in particular, local processing 
capacity not only offers an opportunity to make extra money," 
according to ITDG's Azam-Ali, "but also helps to maintain the 
supply of food throughout the year." Relatively simple drying, 
canning, pickling, and other processing techniques allow a fam- 
ily to "put up" food for a later date — a form of insurance 
against crop loss or the seasonal dip in food availability 
between harvests, and a potential solution to the large quan- 
tities of food currently wasted around the world due to poor 
transportation and storage. 56 

Even after farmers and food businesses have made the 
decision to process and sell foods locally, breaking into the local 
market may pose a daunting challenge. (Many ITDG proj- 
ects, for example, are now experimenting with shops attached 
to their processing centers, a response to feedback from their 
entrepreneurs who lack markets for their goods.) In many 
countries, food retailing is dominated by a declining number 
of multinational supermarket chains, which wield awesome 
power over which food products are, and are not, seen by shop- 
pers. Major supermarket chains charge food manufacturers tens 
of thousands of dollars in "slotting fees" for prize space on the 
supermarket shelves — fees that small groups of farmers or 
small-scale food businesses cannot afford. In the industrial 
world, at least, most people do the vast majority of their food 
shopping at supermarkets, so any local efforts to recapture this 
market will depend partly on replicating the convenience and 
product offerings that people have come to expect when they 
shop for food. 57 

One promising innovation spreading across Europe is 



the "farm shop," in which a group of farmers who produce a 
variety of products join together to acquire and manage a 
food store that sells their products exclusively. (The store 
might sell some imported products during the local off-season.) 
The model seems to make economic sense, succeeding in sev- 
eral different nations and settings without government support. 
The growers guarantee themselves a regular market for larger 
volumes of food than can be sold at a weekly farmers' market, 
while time-conscious consumers can still do most of their 
shopping at one store that's open six or seven days a week. Tag- 
werk, for instance, is a Bavarian eco-regional cooperative of 
farmers, bakers, and butchers that runs seven Tagwerk shops, 
two "biomobiles" (mobile market stalls), five bakeries, and three 
butchers' shops. The 180-member cooperative is diverse enough 
that it can stock Tagwerk's stores with nearly all of the basic 
goods a typical consumer would need, and the scale of busi- 
ness is large enough that Tagwerk can employ over 40 people, 
mostly part-time, in addition to the farmers. 58 

Mary Hendrickson of the University of Missouri Food Cir- 
cles Networking Project suggests that "to expand their mar- 
keting and distribution opportunities, farmers can form 
alliances with other players getting nuzzled out in the ongo- 
ing process of consolidation/' including independent super- 
markets, schools and universities, consumer food cooperatives, 
chefs and restaurateurs, and hotel owners. This sort of alliance 
can help arrest the positive feedback loop that makes it harder 
and harder for independent players to survive. 59 

Following are a few examples of institutions that link local 
food to local food business: 

Food Processing 

• Founded in 1946 by a few dozen dairy farmers in India 
and now selling a full line of dairy products under the Amul 
brand, the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation 
had sales of over $500 million in 2001 and provides over 2 mil- 
lion farmer-members a living wage. Its members, both buffalo 
and cow farmers, are organized into village societies of roughly 
200 farmers each. Using the slogan "A Taste of India," the coop- 
erative has been able to capitalize on national pride, cater to 



local tastes, and capture significant market share from Unilever, 
Pizza Hut, Domino's, and other competitors in the ice cream, 
cheese, and pizza businesses. The cooperative undersells the for- 
eign competition on most products by keeping advertising costs 
low (depending on word of mouth) and by using its control 
of the raw material to market every component (from cream 
to skim milk to curd). 60 

• Schwabisch Hallisches Schwein (pork from Schwabisch 
Hall) is a cooperative in southwest Germany established in 1988 
with the goal of giving its members a better price for their pork. 
The group has grown from 8 members to 340 members and had 
a turnover of $20 million in 1999. Its farmers raise, slaughter, 
package, and market a regional pig breed rescued from extinc- 
tion and suited to living outdoors year-round. The co-op mar- 
kets within a 150-kilometer radius around Schwabisch Hall, 
selling the product in roughly 100 hotels and 150 independ- 
ent butchers, as well as one local supermarket chain with 70 
stores. 61 

Farm Shops 

• In the United Kingdom, where food production often 
takes place close to population centers, farm shop sales are grow- 
ing more than 20 percent per year. Christies Farm Shop in Not- 
tinghamshire, England, has begun a catering service and 
provides most of the meat, potatoes, and vegetables for a local 
school cafeteria. 62 

• AVEC (Agriculteurs en Vente Collective Direct), a farm- 
ers' cooperative in the Rhone-Alpes region of southwest France, 
runs 19 farm stores that offer a wide range of foods produced 
and processed on members' farms, including cheeses, wines, 
jams, sausages, fruits, and vegetables. One AVEC store reports 
roughly 2,000 customers each week and revenues of about $2 
million each year, which are shared by 25 families on 10 
farms. 63 


• In Florida, several dozen farmers got together and 
formed the New North Florida marketing cooperative in 1995 
to process and market collard and turnip greens to schools. 
Today, the co-op is the main source of fruits and vegetables — 



cut, sorted, packaged, and delivered shortly after harvest — for 
30 schools in the area and greatly increases revenues to small- 
scale producers. 64 

• In Cornwall, England, the Cornwall County Council's 
in-house meal service provider is backing local food suppliers 
as part of a £1 million contract to supply school meals to 32 
county primary and secondary schools. To date, three-year con- 
tracts, worth a total of approximately £350,000 a year, have 
been awarded to four local suppliers for fresh meat, frozen 
foods, and vegetables. "Everyone wins," says Ian Doble of 
Doble Quality Foods, the contractor for frozen food. "The 
schools and the children get high quality fresh food, the local 
economy gets a boost, and there are even fewer trucks jour- 
neying all over the country." 65 

• In 2000, the Italian government and several regional 
governments passed new laws obliging local authorities to 
include organic and locally produced ingredients in their 
school menus. There are now over 300 organic school meal 
services in Italy, and hundreds more local meal services. Offi- 
cials and citizens pushed for this shift partly to reinforce the 
traditional Mediterranean diet, using more seasonal fruits and 
vegetables, less meat, and fewer processed foods. As part of this 
change, many schools are teaching more nutrition, cooking, 
and food selection skills, and incorporating visits to farms 
into their curricula. 66 

Restaurants and Institutional Buyers 

• The University of North Iowa Local Food Project, ini- 
tiated by the Center for Energy and Environmental Education 
at the university, worked with institutional food buyers (hos- 
pitals, nursing homes, colleges, restaurants, and groceries) in 
northeast Iowa to explore ways they could purchase a greater 
portion of their food from local farmers and food processors. 
Since 1998, the project's 10 participating institutions have 
spent nearly $600,000 of their food purchases locally. One local 
restaurant, Rudy's Tacos, now spends 71 percent of its food 
budget on fresh, locally grown ingredients. 67 

• "Buying locally tends to ensure that we get fresher 
product," said Josh Conrad, the marketing director for Casa 



Nueva Restaurant and Cantina in Athens, Ohio, a worker- 
owned restaurant which buys 85 percent of its produce from 
20 local farms and food businesses. Casa Nueva, which gen- 
erated over $1 million in sales in 2000, has a goal of sourcing 
100 percent of its produce locally in the next three years. 
Casa Nueva has recently developed Limited Harvest foods, a 
seasonal line of salsas, pickles, jams, and other packaged goods 
that are widely sold throughout Ohio. 68 

Consumer food cooperatives or buying clubs 

• Japanese farmers sell about 60 percent of their pro- 
duce directly to consumers, and at least half of that is sold to 
consumer groups or cooperatives. Most of these consumer 
groups were started by women concerned about the quality of 
their food or the high price of foods in conventional stores. The 
smaller groups might include 10 to 30 households working with 
a single farmer, while the nation's largest group has a mem- 
bership of more than 200,000 households and is served by 
farmer networks all over Japan. There are now 800 to 1,000 of 
these groups in Japan, with a membership of roughly 1 1 mil- 
lion people and an annual turnover of over $15 billion. 69 

• In the northwestern United States, the Puget Con- 
sumers' Cooperative, which was started as a food buying club 
of 15 families in 1963, now has seven markets and 40,000 mem- 
bers, and is the largest natural food co-op in the nation, with 
$67 million in annual sales. The co-op supports dozens of 
area farmers and over 50 local food companies, producing 
everything from "microbrew tofu" and herbal teas to natural 
Oregon beef. 70 

• In Bristol, England, the Hartcliffe Health & Environment 
Action Group created the "Food for All Shop," a food cooper- 
ative formed to improve nutrition and bring together local 
growers and shoppers. Because the co-op is partly supported 
by the Bristol City Council, members only have to pay a small 
annual fee of £2. The co-op also keeps costs down by requir- 
ing members to volunteer time to work in the shop, and keeps 
prices down by marking up produce just enough to cover 
expenses. The co-op sources much of its fruits, vegetables, meat, 
and dairy products from local organic producers, and offers 



classes in cooking, nutrition, and gardening. 71 

A few important lessons come out of these successes. 
First, work together. Even in cases where there is interest in 
sourcing food locally, the difficulties can overwhelm the 
benefits. The people who buy foods for restaurants, hotels, 
caterers, supermarkets, cafeterias, and other institutions are 
used to the ease of ordering from one or two large wholesalers 
that can supply any product year-round. Groups of farmers 
that can employ someone as a broker or marketer will not 
only improve their own business prospects, but also make it 
more convenient for institutional kitchens to support local 
agriculture. 72 

Second, farmers and food businesses will need to ally with 
others to break into a highly consolidated market. For instance, 
unlike large supermarket chains or food manufacturers, most 
smaller ventures will not be able to launch massive advertis- 
ing campaigns to promote their products. For them, getting the 
word out will depend on other strategies, including linking up 
with environmental groups, consumer groups, or other organ- 
izations sympathetic to the virtues of local foods. For exam- 
ple, Patchwork Family Farm, a Missouri (U.S.A.) cooperative of 
hog farmers that slaughters, packs, and markets its own meat, 
did much of its original marketing through rural church 
groups interested in the plight of family farms. 73 

Third, in marketing their wares locally, farmers and food 
businesses should capitalize on the many competitive advan- 
tages that they will always have over the industrial food sys- 
tem, including freshness, variety, detailed information on 
how the food was produced, and the opportunity to develop 
social bonds with their customers. Marketing surveys on the 
promotion of local foods have found that sales would bene- 
fit from piggybacking on related ecological or social distinc- 
tions, like "organic, " "hormone-free, " and "raised by family 
farmers/' In contrast to the anonymity of food bought from 
a food conglomerate, farmers and others marketing local food 
should not take for granted the appeal of "food with a face" — 
food that has a unique and important story behind its creation. 
(See Box 3.) 74 



BOX 3 

Fair Trade: Supporting the Local From Far Away 

Given the economics of food trade, farmers growing food for export are often 
using land they might instead use to feed themselves, without getting adequate 
compensation for this sacrifice. Is there some way to maintain the close social 
connection between grower and eater over a long distance, to ensure that the 
eater is helping the local community to improve its livelihood? 

Enter the fair trade movement. Just as buying direct from the farmer ensures 
that a greater share of the profits remains in the farmer's hands and in the local 
community, fair trade arrangements guarantee these results even for long- 
distance exchanges. Often a fair trade agreement requires that producers 
receive a price for their commodity that is a certain percentage higher than the 
price on the world market, or that the farmers and farmworkers have access to 
health and education benefits or the right to organize into unions and coopera- 
tives. Fair trade coffee, chocolate, and other tropical exports are already on the 
market. One particularly innovative example involves the Day Chocolate Com- 
pany, makers of fair trade chocolate bars sold widely in England. With the help 
of several charities and corporate sponsors, Kuapa Kokoo, a cooperative of over 
40,000 Ghana cocoa growers, created the Day Chocolate Company and con- 
tinue as one-third owners. Co-op members also sit on the board. 

Source: See Endnote 74. 

Fourth, given the growing public interest in eating local 
foods, some local food businesses are likely to enjoy substan- 
tial economic success. Yet this does not have to mean that they 
will grow away from their roots; several companies have 
shown that growth need not jeopardize an interest in being a 
continual source of jobs, income, and food for the local com- 
munity. Company bylaws and linkages to the local foodshed 
can help keep the business locally owned and anchored. For 
instance, the farmer-members of Organic Valley, the largest 
organic dairy cooperative and the largest seller of organic 
dairy products in the United States, have made a commitment 
to "regional flavor" in their company mission by selling milk 
produced in a given region largely in that region. Organic 
Valley's new regional milk cartons — for instance, milk sold in 
the northeastern United States carries the label, "Grown by our 
Northeast farmers for Northeast consumers" — help solidify 
this connection for consumers and promote local foods. 75 



Rebuilding the Local Foodshed 

The food system is now so intensely consolidated and sup- 
port for long-distance food is so pervasive that the scattered 
efforts to invigorate local food systems could have as little effect 
as a mosquito bite on a tractor. Widespread change is not 
likely to come without a healthy dose of political support. 

Part of the argument for governments to give preferen- 
tial treatment (such as local procurement laws or tax breaks) 
to local farmers and food businesses is that the existence of a 
healthy local foodshed yields benefits to society that are not 
adequately represented in the price farmers get for selling 
their crops or the price that consumers pay at the checkout 
counter. In addition to being a source of fresh, ripe food, a local 
farm can help halt the advance of sprawl and provide great aes- 
thetic appeal. A mayor concerned about obesity among city res- 
idents might be interested in creating space for more farmers' 
markets, knowing that they are likely to increase fruit and veg- 
etable consumption. "Municipalities are continually creating 
incentives for local real estate or mall development or even 
sports complexes/' says the University of Wisconsin's Klop- 
penburg, "but what about incentives for local food businesses, 
community kitchens, or urban farming?" 76 

A relatively new institution popping up in states and 
cities around the world that might help promote such policies 
is the local food policy council. (See Box 4.) There are at least 
15 local food policy councils in North America, and several more 
cities and states are planning to create them. (The number of 
local food policy councils outside of North America is less well 
documented, but similar institutions exist around the world.) 
The councils typically emerge out of informal coalitions of 
local politicians, hunger activists, environmentalists, sustain- 
able agriculture advocates, and community development inter- 
ests, allowing food policy decisions to reflect a broad range of 
interests and tap possible synergies. For instance, hunger 
activists, senior citizens, and farmers might join to lobby for 
farmers' market coupons that improve availability for hungry 



BOX 4 

Examples of Local Food Policy Councils and Their 

The Hartford Food System (HFS), a nonprofit founded in 1978, works to give 
people in Connecticut better access to nutritious and affordable food. The group 
has helped establish farmers' markets, distribute coupons to low-income house- 
holds for use at farmers' markets, improve public transportation to food outlets, 
create a grocery delivery service for homebound elderly people, and launch the 
Connecticut Food Policy Council, a body that helps guide Connecticut food pol- 
icy. The group tracks prices at Hartford supermarkets, examines other food trends 
in Hartford and Connecticut, and operates a 400-member CSA that distributes 
40 percent of its produce to low-income people. It also educates the public 
about farmland preservation and lobbies for policies that preserve farmland. 
HFS started a statewide farmland trust to preserve farmland in 2002. 

Founded in 1998, Devon County Foodlinks helps build links between local 
farmers and food outlets in Devon County, England. On a annual budget of less 
than £500,000, this government-funded effort has created an estimated 150 
new jobs, 15 farmers' markets, and 18 box (CSA) schemes. It has also spawned 
many successful food businesses and helped to retain an estimated £9 million in 
the local economy. 

Herb Barbolet, director of Farm Folk/City Folk (FFCF) since it was founded in 
1993, describes this non-profit group as "a catalyst for building webs and 
networks to support local foods in British Columbia." In addition to coordinating 
food delivery schemes and farmers' markets, FFCF has started a rooftop gardens 
project and opened a healthy cafe in inner-city areas of Vancouver, where good 
food options are limited. The group holds an annual "Feast of Fields" harvest festi- 
val that features local foods. FFCF has also converted some large city parks slated 
for development into working farms. As part of its Linking Land and Future Farmers 
project, FFCF acts as a matchmaker to link people with land who no longer 
actively farm it with people who want to farm but cannot afford to. Such links fre- 
quently bring together recent immigrants and retiring farmers without heirs. 

In 1991 the City of Toronto created the Toronto Food Policy Council (TFPC), 
a body with representatives from food corporations, conventional and organic 
farms, co-operatives, unions, social justice and faith groups, and the city council. 
TFPC developed a "Field to Table" program to link low-income Toronto residents 
who need fresh produce with local farmers who have high quality vegetables to 
sell. TFPC helps broker business between local farmers and school food 
programs, food co-ops, and hospitals. It also helped develop a kitchen incuba- 
tor for aspiring food businesses. TFPC has educated the public and lobbied politi- 
cians on issues ranging from farmland preservation and transportation design to 
food waste recovery and genetically modified foods. 

Source: See Endnote 77. 



citizens while increasing market outlets for farmers. 77 

These local councils might have another policy making 
advantage. "Only an entity on the ground that knows the com- 
munity and knows the nuances of the local food system, knows 
how to make the system work for local folks/' says Mark Winne 
of the Hartford Food System (HFS), a Connecticut food policy 
council. Policies designed in the rarefied air of bureaucracies may 
not be relevant or effective for specific cities or communities. HFS 
interviewed hundreds of low-income Hartford households to 
determine the main causes of hunger in the city. After finding 
a strong correlation between frequent bouts of hunger and 
poor access to transportation options, the group worked with 
city officials to modify existing bus lines so that routes connected 
low-income communities with existing supermarkets. HFS also 
helped to open several farmers' markets and a new supermar- 
ket in the same poorly served area. 78 

Edward Seidler, senior officer at the UN Food and Agri- 
culture Organization's Marketing Group, suggests that city 
authorities consider establishing strategically placed local 
retail markets — along bus routes or near major business cen- 
ters, for instance — that cater to low income consumers, while 
simultaneously providing outlets for farmers, especially those 
small farmers growing vegetables on city edges. (See Box 5.) As 
many Third World cities begin to erect housing developments 
and transportation infrastructure to accommodate their rap- 
idly growing populations, local officials who fail to incorpo- 
rate food shops and markets into their plans will confront 
masses of residents who have to pay extra and travel long dis- 
tances to buy food. 79 

One of the more comprehensive food planning efforts 
comes from southwestern England, where Devon County 
Foodlinks has been working since 1998 to build links between 
local growers and local food outlets. This government-funded 
effort helps farmers diversify their crops and explore on-farm 
processing, sets up farmers' markets and box delivery schemes, 
provides grants for new local food businesses, and connects 
local growers to shops, pubs, restaurants, schools, and gov- 
ernment institutions that regularly buy food. According to 



BOX 5 

How To Keep a City Fed 

In their book Hope's Edge, Francis Moore Lappe and Anna Lappe chronicle the 
"new social mentality" around getting food to urbanites that took root in Belo 
Horizonte, Brazil's fourth-largest city, in 1993. According to the Lappes, Belo 
Horizonte, where one-fifth of the city's youngest children used to be malnour- 
ished, is "the only city. the capitalist world that has decided to make food 
security a right of citizenship." The city serves four nutritious meals each day to 
all students at the city's schools, provides over 40 local farmers with space 
around town to set up stalls, established a "Green Basket" program linking hospi- 
tals, restaurants, and other big food buyers to local growers, and runs the Restau- 
rante Popular (the people's restaurant), which serves over 4,000 meals a day at 
less than half the market price. The foundation of this effort is a network of 26 
warehouse-sized stores around the city that sell local produce at fixed prices, 
often half the price charged by nearby grocers. These stores are located on 
prime urban real-estate that the city rents to entrepreneurs at rock-bottom prices. 
In exchange, the city reserves the right to set the price of produce and obligates 
the vendors to make weekend deliveries of produce to poor neighborhoods out- 
side the city center. 

The government helps to keep food affordable by improving the functioning 
of the market. For example, the city publicizes the prices of 45 basic foods at 
40 supermarkets every week so that consumers know where to shop and when 
they're being gouged. The city has also set up a 20-member local food council 
to help form partnerships with church and labor groups and to advise the city on 
how it might further improve the local food system. Officials in Belo Horizonte 
see these efforts as cost effective because they know good nutrition benefits edu- 
cational performance and public health. While economic dogma often discour- 
ages government intervention in markets, the experience of Belo Horizonte 
shows that local authorities can play an essential role in ensuring that the local 
food economy is functioning properly and serving the public interest. 

Source: See Endnote 79. 

founder Ian Hutchcroft, "our interest is in rural regenera- 
tion/' a term that captures not only an interest in encourag- 
ing good land use, reducing food shipping, raising farm 
income, and creating jobs in food businesses, but also regen- 
erating social ties throughout the community. (A large portion 
of the funding came from public health agencies interested in 
countering the rise of obesity and the fast-food culture.) "We 
are making 'interventions' to address local market failures/' 
Hutchcroft notes, "because the private sector is not investing 



in local food businesses in a major way, and, in many ways, 
the cards are stacked against them." The Devon project has 
inspired similar efforts in six other counties in the Southwest 
and elsewhere in England, as well as projects scattered through- 
out Wales and Scotland. 80 

Because "the cards are stacked" against local food, finan- 
cial and other incentives may be needed to help launch local 
food businesses. In 1993, for example, the Appalachian Cen- 
ter for Economic Networks (ACENet), partly supported by the 
U.S. Department of Agriculture, began converting an old lum- 
beryard in Athens, Ohio, into a fully equipped and approved 
commercial kitchen that could be used as an incubator for 
local food entrepreneurs. ACENet now provides training in 
food processing, marketing, product development, and business 
management, in addition to pointing start-up processors to local 
sources for fruit, vegetables, meat, and dairy products. The 
kitchen is used by 300 specialty food businesses, and has 
spawned more than 120 start-ups and created hundreds of 
jobs. (The Herbal Sage Tea Company, The Dotty Baker, Cliffie's 
Salsa, and Integration Acres are just a few of the businesses that 
have now "graduated" from the kitchen incubator.) Toronto 
offers another example: the Food Policy Council there has 
argued for tax and zoning policies to encourage a small-scale 
food processing industry in the city, not only as a source of jobs 
but also to "source raw materials close to the homebase, thereby 
sustaining Ontario farms that help preserve Toronto's green- 
belt." 8 ! 

Governments can help boost demand for local food 
through procurement policies in their own cafeterias, a strat- 
egy that has been used to invigorate the market for a range of 
"alternative" products, from sustainably harvested lumber to 
energy-efficient light bulbs. Large purchases by government 
agencies (as well as by universities, schools, and restaurants) 
can provide the critical mass to encourage local food distri- 
bution networks that can then supply other local outlets as well. 
In the United Kingdom, planners in the towns of Eaton and 
Abbeystead have combined local-food procurement policies for 
schools, hotels, and food businesses with other policies to 



ensure that farming stays closely linked to community welfare, 
including low-interest loans for young and beginning farmers 
and limits on farm size and out-of-town farm ownership. The 
average age of a farmer in Abbeystead is 32, compared to a 
British average of almost 55, and average farm profitability is 
among the highest in the nation. 82 

In the United Kingdom, where a growing interest in 
local foods has forced major supermarkets to adapt their buy- 
ing practices, a recent government commission recommended 
an interesting financial incentive: Retailers that "give over a 
portion of their store as an outlet for local producers to sell 
direct to the public should receive business rate [tax] relief on 
that part of their premises." Corporations can play the same 
role if they choose: Wegmans Food Markets, a supermarket 
chain in the United States, has a "Home Grown" program that 
gives preference to produce from local farmers when fresh 
food is in season. Under this program, Wegmans gives bonuses 
to produce managers who exceed a certain quota of produce 
from local growers (roughly 30 percent) because the chain 
knows that people will often pay more for local produce, and 
because local produce draws customers in to the store. 83 

Some of the strongest threats to local food systems are cre- 
ated at the national or international levels, and will require 
action there. (See Box 6, page 56.) Current international trade 
agreements restrict the ability of nations to protect and build 
domestic farm economies, forbidding domestic price supports, 
tariffs on imported goods, and preference for products based 
on place of origin. (The international free-trade community is 
up in arms about Japan's recent proclamation that it needs to 
"boost self-sufficiency," "protect its farmers," and "provide con- 
sumers with cheap, safe, fresh products grown at home.") At the 
same time, these agreements leave considerable wiggle room 
with respect to other self-serving forms of trade manipulation, 
including the ability of wealthy nations to dump subsidized 
crops on the world market — an economic weapon that can 
squash local food production by driving prices down and 
actually worsen poverty among those who depend on agri- 
culture for their income. "The WTO and related trade agree- 



BOX 6 

National and International Policy Changes To Help 
Rebuild Local Foodsheds 

• Enforce antitrust legislation at the national and global levels. As every 
link in the agribusiness chain consolidates, there is a dire need for national govern- 
ments and international trade bodies to break up monopolies and oligopolies, 
and generally enforce antitrust legislation. In the face of widespread consolida- 
tion, collective bargaining by farmers and local food businesses will be essen- 
tial, although several nations have laws that prevent such collective bargaining. 

• Eliminate commodity payments. Today, most agricultural policy encourages 
the production of generic commodities, while actually discouraging farmers 
from producing food for local markets. A case in point is the more than $320 
billion that governments of industrial nations spend each year to support 
agriculture. Since the lion's share of this money is tied to the production of a 
handful of commodities— such as corn, soybeans, and wheat— this arrangement 
discourages diversification. Farmers interested in diversifying out of the handful 
of crops that receive payments and getting into food processing jeopardize a 
significant source of income. 

• Restructure agricultural education, research, and extension. Agricultural 
ministries, research centers, and universities should shift from an exclusive focus 
on production to a more integrated view of the whole farm business. Rich 
Pirog of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State Univer- 
sity argues that people interested in rebuilding local and regional food systems 
"need to create new alliances at our universities with the Colleges of Business, 
not just the Colleges of Agriculture, since the business school has the expertise 
in marketing, distribution, and supply chains design." 

• Tax fossil fuels rather than subsidize them. Long-distance food would be 
vastly more expensive if oil prices were to rise, something that many geologists 
and energy analysts argue could happen in the next decade or so as world oil 
production peaks. In the meantime, climate change— which will likely have 
direct effects on the stability of food production— provides the strongest argu- 
ment for radically reducing fossil fuel use. National governments can acceler- 
ate this shift by eliminating existing subsidies for coal, oil, and natural gas and 
raising taxes on these same fossil fuels. 

• Eliminate food dumping and reform world trade rules to ensure food 
sovereignty. Existing international trade rules prevent nations from safeguard- 
ing and developing domestic and local food production. Local labels, country- 
of-origin labeling, procurement policies, and quality standards are often seen 
as barriers to trade, but countries should have the power to determine what 
foods cross their borders, including the power to forbid imports of a given 
food during its domestic harvest season. 

Source: See endnote 84. 



ments close off countries from trying to pursue development 
strategies predicated on strong internal food markets/' says Peter 
Rosset of FoodFirst/Institute for Agriculture and Development 
Policy, "a strategy that proved central to the economic growth 
in the United States in the 19th century and for the East Asian 
miracle economies and China after World War II. " 84 

The Personal Case for Eating Local 

The more communities forsake their food self-reliance, the 
harder it becomes to recapture this market from a food 
monopoly. The alarming pace at which local farms and food 
businesses are fading away indicates that the initiative of well- 
meaning government officials to support and protect local foods 
may simply not be enough. 

A more diffuse, but potentially more powerful, entity 
may hold the key to the rebirth of local foodsheds: the food 
consumer. Socially and ecologically sound buying habits are 
not just the passive result of changes in the way food is pro- 
duced, but can actually be the most powerful drivers of these 
changes. Among the range of simple actions that the average 
person can take to reinvigorate the local food economy are 
shopping at the local farmers' market, asking their favorite 
restaurant or food store to stock locally grown foods, and 
building a few weekly meals around seasonally available 
foods. 85 (See Box 7, page 58.) 

Confronted with the notion that food choices have land- 
scape-shaping and climate-changing implications, a consumer 
may ask, "What's wrong with getting my food from some dis- 
tant land, if the food is cheap and the system works?" For most 
of us, the most convincing arguments for eating local will not 
include abstract concepts such as the tremendous energy use 
(and thus pollution) associated with hauling food across con- 
tinents or the loss of crop diversity from consolidation in the 
food business. The most compelling arguments may instead 
be psychological and emotional — the realization that if we con- 



BOX 7 

What Individuals Can Do 

What defines "local" food? Is it food from one's nation? From one's state or 
province? From farms within 50 kilometers of your house? When ecologist Gary 
Nabhan decided to eat locally for a year, he drew the line at 400 kilometers 
from his house, partly guided by the size of the watershed in which he lived. 
Nutritionist Joan Gussow suggests trying to buy food produced "within a day's 
leisurely drive of our homes," a goal "designed to maintain a living countryside." 
Regardless of the precise definition, there are several actions people can take to 
promote local food systems: 

• Learn what foods are in season in your area and try to build your diet around 

• Shop at a local farmers' market. People living in areas without a farmers' mar- 
ket might try to start one themselves, linking up with interested neighbors and 
friends and contacting nearby farmers and agricultural officials for help. Peo- 
ple can do the same with CSA subscription schemes. 

• Ask the manager or chef of your favorite restaurant how much of the food on 
the menu is locally grown, and then encourage him or her to source food 
locally. Urge that the share be increased. People can do the same at their 
local supermarket or school cafeteria. 

• Take a trip to a local farm to learn what it produces. 

• Host a harvest party at your home or in your community that features locally 
available and in-season foods. 

• Produce a local food directory that lists all the local food sources in your area, 
including CSA arrangements, farmers' markets, food co-ops, restaurants 
emphasizing seasonal cuisine and local produce, and farmers willing to sell 
direct to consumers year-round. 

• Buy extra quantities of your favorite fruit or vegetable when it is in season and 
experiment with drying, canning, jamming, or otherwise preserving it for a 
later date. 

• Plant a garden and grow as much of your own food as possible. 

• Speak to your local politician about forming a local food policy council to 
help guide decisions that affect the local foodshed. 

Source: See endnote 85. 

tinue on the present course, one day we will wake up to find 
that there are no locally owned farms, dairies, canneries, or gro- 
cers in sight, leaving us beholden to whatever farmer or food 
business is willing to ship us food on their terms. 



This appears to explain what has happened in Britain, 
which in recent years has played host to an unfortunate series 
of food scares, from the discovery of mad cow disease and the 
recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease to ongoing concerns 
over genetically modified foods. These scares prompted British 
citizens to start asking where their food was coming from and 
instilled a wariness of long-distance food. The 2001 foot-and- 
mouth outbreak, which brought sales of British meat to an 
abrupt halt and devastated rural communities, was exacerbated 
by long-distance food transportation; it spread considerably far- 
ther and faster than an earlier outbreak in 1967, largely because 
animals today are shipped from all over the nation to central 
slaughterhouses. In 1967 most slaughtering and consump- 
tion took place locally. (Investigation also showed that the infec- 
tious animal feed for the recent outbreak came from China.) 86 

Many British consumers have restructured their food 
buying habits in the wake of the scares, flocking to farmers' mar- 
kets and subscribing to box (CSA) schemes, seeking out food 
with some human connection that they can trust. Marsha 
Bushwood of Promar International, a U.K.-based food con- 
sulting firm, points to surveys of consumers showing "a very 
strong desire to put their money directly in the hand of the 
farmer, due to growing concerns about food safety and due to 
growing cynicism about the motivations of agribusiness." 
Consumers seem to feel that the farmer is less likely to cheat 
them than a supermarket or a fast food chain, according to 
Bushwood. And the ability to interact with the person who 
knows how the crop or animal has been treated throughout 
its entire life has become particularly valuable, a sort of pre- 
mium in an otherwise anonymous food system. 87 

In food industry jargon, this premium is known as "trace- 
ability/' and it depends to a large extent on shortening the 
chain between the farmer and the eater. Bushwood notes that 
British supermarkets, concerned about loss of market share, are 
scrambling to host local food days in their stores, feature talks 
by local farmers, and even hold mock farmers' markets in 
their parking lots. (The Waitrose chain recently rolled out the 
slogan, "No other supermarket knows each of their milk pro- 



ducers.") A government report from 2002 predicted that "local 
food will enter the mainstream in the next few years," and 
noted that several supermarket retailers "see local food as the 
next major development in food retailing." 88 

This search for security and confidence is, of course, not 
limited to British consumers. Recent terrorist incidents have 
raised fears, especially in the United States, about how vul- 
nerable a highly centralized and long-distance food system 
could be to tampering and disruption. (One estimate suggests 
that most major cities in the eastern United States have less than 
two days' supply of food on hand and are thus vulnerable to 
sudden transportation restrictions.) Food that spends large 
amounts of time in transit, changes hands multiple times, and 
is processed in huge batches provides nearly unlimited oppor- 
tunities for both accidental and malicious contamination, on 
a scale impossible with a shorter, more decentralized food 
chain. (Small, local processing plants are not immune to such 
errors, accidents, or sabotage, although their scale would help 
limit the consequences.) 89 

Still, it would be inaccurate to view the case of Britain, or 
other places where people are increasingly interested in eating 
local, as simply a story about people driven by fear and para- 
noia. Many Brits, though first prompted by concerns about food 
safety, have now learned that local food is not only less sus- 
ceptible to corruption of the food chain, but is also cheaper, 
tastier, and more pleasurable. 

Carlo Petrini, founder and president of the Slow Food 
Movement ("a movement for the protection of the right to 
taste") notes that the price societies have paid for having 
access to every possible food at any time of year is "the delib- 
erate development of species with characteristics functional 
only to the food industry and not to the pleasure of food, and 
the consequent sacrifice of many varieties and breeds on the 
altar of mass-production." Petrini argues, for instance, that 
weVe lost the tastiest, juiciest fruits because they couldn't be 
transported or it cost too much to process them, and crop breed- 
ers have instead developed varieties able to withstand the rig- 
ors of shipping and mechanical harvesting. (In the United 



States — a global leader in long-distance food — more than half 
of all tomatoes are harvested and shipped green, and then arti- 
ficially ripened upon arrival at their final destination.) People 
around the world have traditionally relished the excitement 
of eating foods at their peak of flavor and ripeness, says Petrini, 
an excitement reinforced by an intimate knowledge of food sea- 
sons and an array of harvest festivals. While skeptics might view 
such seasonal cuisine as constraining, Petrini considers it 
"much more of a constraint to be forced to eat standardized, 
tasteless industrial food products full of preservatives and arti- 
ficial flavorings," often of substandard quality because they are 
rarely in season. 90 

If the pleasures of taste (and double-blind studies have 
shown that farmers' market produce consistently trumps 
supermarket fare in this category) seem to be a rather selfish 
argument in favor of local food, consider the constellation of 
meaningful human connections that emerge from the local 
foodshed, in contrast to the anonymity and coldness of super- 
markets, packaged foods, and fast-food joints. Slow Food, now 
with 75,000 members in 80 nations, views these social inter- 
actions between citizens and bakers, butchers, and farmers, as 
well as meals shared with friends and family, as inseparable from 
the joy of eating locally. During his year-long experiment in 
digging deeper into his foodshed and eating only food raised 
within 400 kilometers of his home — compared with a typical 
American diet whose components often come from thou- 
sands of kilometers away — ecologist Gary Nabhan made dozens 
of new friends. For urbanites, in particular, local food might 
also provide one of the few remaining connections to nature, 
rural ways, rural people, and an awareness of what is happening 
to our food supply. (Margaret Mead suggested that food might 
be our most intimate connection to "the whole problem of the 
pollution and exhaustion of our environment.") 91 

Perhaps the most persuasive case for eating local is the 
high level of control that it gives us over the food we eat. As 
decisionmaking in the food chain grows ever more distant and 
concentrated — confined behind fewer corporate doors — the 
ability of the average person to know and influence what is 



going into the food supply shrinks accordingly. A case in 
point is the burgeoning field of genetically modified organisms. 
A coalition that disingenuously calls itself the Alliance for 
Better Foods — made up of large food retailers, food processors, 
biotech companies, and corporate-financed farm organiza- 
tions — has launched a $50 million public " educational" cam- 
paign, in addition to giving hundreds of thousands of dollars 
to U.S. lawmakers and political parties, to head off the manda- 
tory labeling of such foods. In contrast to such backroom 
dealing, farmers markets, CSA arrangements, and locally owned 
food businesses all tend to return decision-making power to 
the local community. Local food access options mean that con- 
sumers who want meat raised without hormones and antibi- 
otics have a good chance of finding a farmer nearby who can 
deliver. Direct feedback to the farmer means an immediate 
response to personal preferences. 92 

People who aim to take back this control will quickly real- 
ize that it will not come easily. We are increasingly removed 
from our food, not just by distance, but also by process — by 
the chopping, cooking, coloring, flavoring, and other forms of 
processing that transform the raw material harvested from the 
soil into packaged food. Especially in the developed world, as 
more meals come out of boxes, cans, or Styrofoam containers, 
more and more people no longer know (or have never known) 
how to cook, preserve foods (through canning, pickling, or dry- 
ing), garden, or identify wild edible plants — skills that were 
essential to the survival of many people only a couple of gen- 
erations ago. 93 

This is not to say that everyone will go back to canning, 
and the long work hours and commute times of modern life 
do not always leave time to enjoy a homecooked meal. But 
there can be great pleasure and independence in relearning 
these forgotten arts. People who participate in CSA arrange- 
ments often report that they are forced to be creative and 
resourceful cooks, shaping dishes around the seasons and 
evolving into competent soup makers to take advantage of left- 
over and surplus foods. Growing, harvesting, selecting, pre- 
serving, and cooking food in the comfort of one's home also 



provides an ideal opportunity for interaction between parents 
and children. 94 

JoAnn Jaffe, a sociologist at the University of Regina, 
Canada, argues that the loss of food skills weakens consumer 
sovereignty, increasing the capacity of food manufacturers 
and retailers to manipulate tastes and buying behaviors, and 
making it possible to introduce "an endless stream of packaged, 
processed, and industrially transformed foodstuffs/' Jaffe sug- 
gests a retaliatory strategy of "eating lower on the marketing 
chain" by buying food as locally as possible in order to regain 
sovereignty and control. Eating lower on the marketing chain 
will often be healthier, because buying more food direct gen- 
erally means eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, and 
because many of the extra steps between the farmer and the 
consumer remove nutrients and fiber and add fat, sugar, salt, 
and other fillers. 95 

Buying locally can even save money, and not just because 
raw ingredients are often less expensive — per unit of nutrition 
delivered — than prepared, packaged foods. In some cases — par- 
ticularly in inner-city food deserts and other communities 
where food options are limited — local food will be less expen- 
sive. In one survey, food sold at farmers' markets and through 
a food delivery scheme in southwest England — fruits, vegeta- 
bles, meat, eggs, and certified organic products — was on aver- 
age 30 to 40 percent cheaper than products of similar quality 
from the local supermarket. (In many cases, the supermarkets 
did not carry the same in-season produce found at the farm- 
ers market.) For $375, the Food Bank Farm in Hadley, Massa- 
chusetts, will deliver produce that would cost $800 at a 
supermarket and as much as $1,200 at an upscale gourmet store. 
Fadzavanhu Enterprises, the local peanut butter maker in Zim- 
babwe, undersells multinational competitors like Cairns Foods 
by as much as 15 percent. 96 

These individual actions may seem small and discon- 
nected, even futile. Not so: every successful effort around the 
world to rebuild a local foodshed ultimately began with the 
work of an individual or small group. Four housewives started 
Fadzavanhu Enterprises; it now provides a market for many 



local farmers and is seriously challenging the dominant, for- 
eign-owned peanut butter brands in local stores. Organic Val- 
ley, the farmer-owned dairy cooperative that is now the largest 
seller of organic dairy products in the United States, was 
started 15 years ago by a handful of organic farmers in the Mid- 
west. And the thousands of consumer cooperatives in Japan, 
which now include roughly 11 million members and buy 
over $15 billion of produce each year directly from Japanese 
farmers, were almost all started by housewives concerned 
about pesticides on their families' food and high prices in the 

Whether one is a farmer, restaurateur, politician, banker, 
entrepreneur, student looking for a career, or concerned par- 
ent, there are an infinite number of entry points into the 
local food economy. The potential — and the need — for rebuild- 
ing local foodsheds is vast. But the work will always depend 
on motivated individuals searching for a more secure livelihood, 
a stronger community, or simply a delicious meal. 




Organizations Working To Rebuild Local Foodsheds 

Policymaking Organizations 


5-F International Organizations 

1-1-1 Minato-Mirai - Nishi-ku 
Yokohama 220-0012 

tel: +81-45- 223-2161 
fax: +81-45-223-2162 

www. CityNet-ap . org/en/ index, html 

International Union of Local 

IULA World Secretariat 
PO Box 90646 
2509 LP The Hague 
The Netherlands 
tel: +31-70-306-6066 
fax: +31-70-350-0496 

International Council for Local 

Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) 
World Secretariat 
City Hall, West Tower 16th Floor 
100 Queen Street, West 
Toronto, Ontario M5H 2N2 

tel: 416-392-1462 
fax: 416-392-1478 

World Federation of United Cities 

60 rue La Boetie 
75008 Paris 

tel: +33-1-53-96-05-80 
fax: +33-1-53-96-05-81 


Food and Agriculture Research 

Center for Rural Affairs 
101 S. Tallman St. 
PO Box 406 
Walthill, NE 68067 
tel: 402-846-5428 
fax: 402-846-5420 

Community Food Security Coalition 

PO Box 209 

Venice, CA 90294 

tel: 310-822-5410 

fax: 310-822-1440 



Henry A. Wallace Center for 
Agricultural and Environmental 
Policy at Winrock International 

1621 North Kent St., Suite 1200 

Arlington, VA 22209-2134 

tel: 703-525-9430 


International Society for Ecology 

and Culture 
Foxhole, Dartington 
Devon TQ9 6EB 
United Kingdom 
tel: +44-180-386-8650 
fax: +44-180-386-8651 

Food First/Institute for Food and 

Development Policy 
398 60th Street 
Oakland, CA 94618 



tel: 510-654-4400 

fax: 510-654-4551 



Institute for Agriculture and 

Trade Policy 
2105 First Avenue South 
Minneapolis, MN 55404 
tel: 612-870-0453 
fax: 612-870-4846 

Groups Working With Farmers 
To Build Marketing and 
Processing Capacity, and Make 
Connections to Consumers 

Assocation for Better Land Husbandry 

PO Box 39042 



tel: + 25-4-2-521-090 



Intermediate Technology Development 

Bourton Hall 
Rugby CV23 9QZ 
United Kingdom 
tel: +44-192-663-4400 
fax: +44-192-663-4401 

Appropriate Technology Transfer 

for Rural Areas 
PO Box 3657 
Fayetteville, AR 72702 
tel: 800-346-9140 

Food Circles Networking Project 
Department of Rural Sociology 
University of Missouri at Columbia 
204 Gentry 

Columbia, MO 65211 

tel: 573-882-3776 

fax: 573-882-5127 



Leopold Center for Sustainable 

Iowa State University 
209 Curtiss Hall 
Ames, IA 50011-1050 
tel: 515-294-3711 
fax: 515-294-9696 

Groups Promoting Local Food 

Hartford Food System 

509 Wethersfield Ave. 

Hartford, CT 06114 

tel: 860-296-9325 

fax: 860-296-8326 



ANDES (Association for Nature 
Conservation and Sustainable 
Development /Kechua-Aymara Asso- 
ciation for Sustainable Livelihoods) 

Apartado 567 



tel: +51-84-245-021 

Slow Food 
Via Mendicita 8 
12042 Bra (CN) 

tel: +39-172-419-611 



Farm Folk/City Folk Society 
106-131 Water Street 
Vancouver, BC V6B 4M3 




tel: 604-730-0450 
fax: 604-730-0451 

Sustain: The Alliance for Better Food 

and Farming 
94 White Lion Street 
London Nl 9PF 
United Kingdom 
tel: +44-171-837-1228 
fax: +44-171-837-1141 

Foundation for Local Food Initiatives 

PO Box 1234 

Bristol BS99 2PG 

United Kingdom 

tel: +44-845-458-9525 



Vermont Fresh Network 

116 State Street 

Montpelier, VT 05620-2901 

tel: 802-229-4706 

fax: 802-229-2200 



fax: 814-349-2280 


Urban Agriculture Groups 

Just Food 

307 7th Ave., Suite 120 
New York, NY 10001 
tel: 212-645-9880 
fax: 212-645-9881 

City Farmer, Canada's Office of 

Urban Agriculture 
#801-318 Homer St. 
Vancouver, BC V6B 2V3 

tel: 604-685-5832 
fax: 604-685-0431 


The Urban Agriculture Network 

4701 Connecticut Ave, NW 

Washington, DC 20008 

tel: 202-362-5095 


Toronto Food Policy Council 
277 Victoria Street, Suite 203 
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1W1 

tel: 416-338-7937 

fax: 416-392-1357 




FoodRoutes Network 
PO Box 443 
Millheim, PA 16854 
tel: 814-349-6000 




1. Matthew Hora, Capital Area Food Bank, discussion with author, 20 Feb- 
ruary 2002. 

2. Ibid.; Matthew Hora and Judy Tick, From Farm to Table: Making the Con- 
nection in the Mid-Atlantic Food System (Washington, D.C.: Capital Area Food 
Bank, 2001). For a description of the aggressive marketing of produce from 
California see Steven Stoll, The Fruits of Natural Advantage: Making the Indus- 
trial Countryside in California (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998). 

3. Hora, op. cit. note 1; Hora and Tick, op. cit. note 2. 

4. Trade value and volume from United Nations Food and Agriculture 
Organization, FAOSTAT Statistics Database, at <>, updated 
4 July 2002. 

5 . Farmland protection from "Suburban Harvest, " Preservation, January/Feb- 
ruary 2002, pp. 55-61, 87; Accokeek Ecosystem Farm from Shane LaBrake, man- 
ager of Ecosystem Farm, Accokeek, Maryland, discussion with author, 18 
September 2002. 

6. Conversations at farmers' markets from Robert Sommer et al., "The 
Behavioral Ecology of Supermarkets and Farmers' Markets," Journal of Envi- 
ronmental Psychology, Vol. 1, March 1981, pp. 13-19, and more recent, unpub- 
lished studies from Robert Sommer, discussion with author, 23 February 
2002; Bernadine Prince, director, FreshFarm Market, discussion with author, 
29 July 2002; Elizabeth Becker, "19 Million Pounds of Meat Recalled After 19 
Fall 111," New York Times, 20 July 2002. 

7. Number of new farmers' markets and status of Anacostia greengrocer from 
Tosha Thompson, executive director, Community Harvest, Washington, D.C., 
discussion with author, 3 September 2002; description of Anacostia farmers' 
market from Hora, op. cit. note 1. 

8. Information on Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative from Chris 
Fullerton, manager, Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative, Hustontown, 
Pennsylvania, discussion with author, 3 August 2002; Nora Poullion, Restau- 
rant Nora, discussion with author, 13 December 2001. 

9. Gary Paul Nabhan, Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasures and Politics of 
Local Foods (New York: W.W Norton, 2002), p. 14. 

10. United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, op. cit. note 4. 
Trade data have been adjusted for inflation using U.S. implicit GNP price 
deflator, U.S. Commerce Department, Bureau of Economic Analysis, 
< st-tabs.htm>, revised 29 August 2002. 



11. United States surveys from Hora and Tick, op. cit. note 2, and Rich 
Pirog et al., Food, Fuel, and Freeways: An Iowa Perspective on How Far Food Trav- 
els, Fuel Usage, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Ames, Iowa: Leopold Center for 
Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State University, 2001), pp. 1, 2; British statis- 
tics from Andy Jones, Eating Oil: Food Supply in a Changing Climate (London: 
Sustain, 2001), pp. 1, 10, 14, 30, 31. 

12. Advances in refrigeration and transportation from William Coyle and 
Nicole Ballenger (eds.), Technological Changes in the Transportation Sector: Effects 
on U.S. Food and Agricultural Trade, A Proceedings (Washington, D.C.: Eco- 
nomic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, October 

2000) , pp. 33, 51, 52; refrigerated railroad cars from William Cronon, Nature's 
Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1991), 
pp. 233, 234; ripening techniques from Norman N. Potter and Joseph H. 
Hotchkiss, Food Science (New York: Chapman & Hall, 1995), pp. 163-99; 
falling cost of shipping from Jones, op. cit. note 11, p. 20. 

13. Sidney Mintz, "How Juice Went From Stone Age to Ice Age," Wall Street 
Journal, 22 June 2000, and Potter and Hotchkiss, op. cit. note 12, pp. 432-44. 

14. Joan Gussow, This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader 
(White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 2001), 
p. 82; lettuce from David Pimentel, Cornell University, e-mail to author, 20 
March 2002; lettuce to the United Kingdom from Jones, op. cit. note 11, p. 
1; perishables from Stavros Evangelakakis, Cargolux, quoted in press release 
from "Fresh Opportunities: A Conference for Everyone Seeking a Share in This 
Fast Expanding Trade," Perishables Transportation Conference, 30 June-2 
July 2002, Vitoria, Spain. 

15. Annika Carlsson-Kanyama, "Climate Change and Dietary Choices: How 
Can Emissions of Greenhouse Gases From Food Consumption Be Reduced," 
Food Policy, Fall/Winter 1998, pp. 288, 289; emissions related to food trans- 
portation from Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food, Food 
& Farming: A Sustainable Future, (London: January 2002), p. 92; available at 

16 . Caroline Lucas, Stopping the Great Food Swap: Relocalising Europe ; s Food Sup- 
ply (London: The Greens/European Free Alliance and European Parliament, 

2001) ; Herman E. Daly, "The Perils of Free Trade," Scientific American, Novem- 
ber 1993, pp. 50-57. 

17. Jerry Goldstein, editor and publisher of Biocycle: The Journal of Composting 
and Recycling, discussion with author, 16 April 2002; for food waste success sto- 
ries, see Biocycle, various issues, <>; growth in 
food packaging from Robert Pagan and Marguerite Lake, "A Whole-Life 
Approach to Sustainable Food Production," UNEP Industry and Environment, 
April-September 1999, pp. 16, 17; one-third from Kameshwari Pothukuchi and 
Jerome L. Kaufman, "Placing the Food System on the Urban Agenda: The Role 
of Municipal Institutions in Food Systems Planning," Agriculture and Human 



Values, Vol. 16, Number 2, 1999, p. 217. 

18. Ken Meter and John Rosales, Finding Food in Farm Country: The Econom- 
ics of Food & Farming in Southeast Minnesota (Lanesboro, Minnesota: Community 
Design Center, 2001), pp. 3-5. 

19. Distribution of the farm dollar in the United States from Stewart Smith, 
Department of Resource Economics and Policy, University of Maine, Orono, 
Maine, unpublished data sent to author, 4 February 2002. 

20. Ken Belson, "Wal-Mart Dips $46 Million Toe Into Vast Japanese Econ- 
omy," New York Times, 15 March 2002; Box 1 from the following: Hope 
Shand's analysis from Pat Roy Mooney, "Concentration in Corporate Power/' 
Development Dialogue (Dag Hammarskjold Centre, Uppsala, Sweden), January 
2001, pp. 89, 90; pesticide and seed market from "Globalization, Inc., Con- 
centration in Corporate Power: The Unmentioned Agenda/' Communique 
(Winnipeg, Manitoba: ETC Group, 5 September 2001); vegetable seeds from 
"The Gene Giants: Update on Consolidation in the Life Industry," Commu- 
nique (Winnipeg, Manitoba: Rural Advancement Foundation International [now 
ETC Group], 30 March 1999); trade statistics and retailers in Europe from File- 
man Torres et al., "Agriculture in the Early XXI Century: Agrodiversity and Plu- 
ralism as a Contribution to Address Issues on Food Security, Poverty, and Natural 
Resource Conservation" (draft) (Rome: Global Forum on Agricultural Research, 
April 2000), p. 14; chicken purchases in Central America and retail sector in 
Brazil from William Vorley and Julio Berdegue, "The Chains of Agriculture," 
World Summit on Sustainable Development Opinion (London: IIED, May 2001) 
and Belson, op. cit. this note; beef and pork packing from William Heffernan, 
University of Missouri (Columbia), "Consolidation in the Food and Agricul- 
ture System," Report to the National Farmers Union, 5 February 1999; Hong 
Kong retail from Tim Lang, Thames Valley University, London, discussion with 
author, 14 June 2001. 

21. David Seddon, University of Norwich, United Kingdom, discussion with 
author, 23 April 2002; export-oriented strategies from John Walton and David 
Seddon, Free Markets and Food Riots: The Politics of Global Adjustment (Oxford: 
Blackwell Publishers, May 1994), and Peter Uvin, The International Organiza- 
tion of Hunger (London: Kegan Paul International, 1994), pp. 92-128. 

22. Uvin, op. cit. note 21. 

23. Tim Weiner, "Corn Growing in Mexico 'Has Basically Collapsed' as U.S. 
Imports Flood Country," New York Times, 26 February 2002; United Nations 
Food and Agriculture Organization, op. cit. note 4. 

24. Seddon, op. cit. note 21; Global Trade Watch, Down on the Farm: NAFTA's 
Seven-Years War on Farmers and Ranchers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico (Wash- 
ington, D.C.: Public Citizen, June 2001). 

25. Lori Ann Thrupp et al., Bittersweet Harvests for Global Supermarkets: Chal- 



lenges in Latin America's Agricultural Export Boom (Washington, D.C.: World 
Resources Institute, April 1995), and quote from Lori Ann Thrupp, Environ- 
mental Protection Agency, discussion with author, 4 April 2002; evidence from 
Africa comes from Catherine Dolan et al., "Horticulture Commodity Chains: 
The Impact of the U.K. Market on the African Fresh Vegetable Industry," IDS 
Working Paper 96, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, 1999; 
Global Trade Watch, op. cit. note 24. 

26. New Economics Foundation, "Local Food Better for Rural Economy 
than Supermarket Shopping" (press release), London, United Kingdom, 7 
August 2001. 

27. West Africa from Christopher Delgado et al., "Agricultural Growth Link- 
ages in Sub-Saharan Africa," IFPRI Research Report 107 (Washington, D.C.: Inter- 
national Food Policy Research Institute, December 1998), p. xii; Japan, South 
Korea, and Taiwan from Peter Rosset, "The Multiple Functions and Benefits 
of Small Farm Agriculture," Policy Brief No. 4 (Oakland, California: Food 
First/Institute for Food and Development Policy, September 1999), pp. 12, 13; 
Peter Rosset, Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy, discussion 
with author, 21 January 2002. 

28. Wendell Berry, "A Return to the Local: You Stay Home Too," World 
Watch, September/October 2000, p. 33. 

29. Observers have noted that the giant swath of the United States devoted 
to corn isn't healthy for humans or the environment; sustaining this vast mono- 
culture requires frequent doses of chemicals, and food businesses awash with 
cheap corn transform the crop into soda, fatty meat, and an array of other 
unhealthy products. See Michael Pollan, "When a Crop Becomes King," New 
York Times, 19 July 2002. Becky Tarbotton, International Society for Ecology 
and Culture, Devon, United Kingdom, discussion with author, 3 May 2002, 
and Katy Mamen, ISEC, Berkeley, California, discussion with author, 20 May 

30. Alejandro Argumedo, ANDES, Cuzco, Peru, e-mail to author, 15 March 

31. P. Mader et al., "Soil Fertility and Biodiversity in Organic Farming," Sci- 
ence, 31 May 2002; J.P. Reganold et al., "Sustainability of Three Apple Production 
Systems, Nature, 19 April 2001; Peter B. Reich et al., "Plant Diversity Enhances 
Ecosystem Responses to Elevated C02 and Nitrogen Deposition," Nature, 12 
April 2001; and L.E. Drinkwater et al., "Legume-Based Cropping Systems 
Have Reduced Carbon and Nitrogen Losses," Nature, 26 November 1998. 

32. Northwood Farms from Anja Lyngbaek, International Society for Ecol- 
ogy and Culture, Devon, United Kingdom, discussion with author, 5 June 2002. 

33. Andy Jones, "An Environmental Assessment of Food Supply Chains: A 
Case Study on Dessert Apples," Environmental Management, forthcoming, 



draft sent to author 20 August 2002; United Nations Food and Agriculture Orga- 
nization, op. cit. note 4. 

34. Phil R. Kaufman, "Rural Poor Have Less Access to Supermarkets, Large 
Grocery Stores," Rural Development Perspectives, April 1999, pp. 19-26; Doug 
O'Brien quoted in Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture, "Hunger in the Heart- 
land/' Field Notes (newsletter), Winter 2001, p. 3. 

35. Food deserts in rural areas from Claire Hinrichs, Department of Sociol- 
ogy, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, e-mail to author 4 September 2002; 
rise in obesity from Barry M. Popkin, 'The Nutrition Transition and Its Health 
Implications in Lower-Income Countries/' Public Health Nutrition, Vol. 1, 
Number 1, 1998, pp. 5-21. 

36. Indigenous populations from Popkin, op. cit. note 35, and Carol Ballew 
et al., "Intake of Nutrients and Food Sources of Nutrients Among the Navajo: 
Findings From the Navajo Health and Nutrition Survey," Journal of Nutrition, 
October 1997, pp. 2085S-2093S; Oodham Indians from Maya Tauber and 
Andy Fisher, "A Guide to Community Food Projects," Community Food 
Security Coalition, Venice, California, 2000, pp. 2-3; Nabhan, op. cit. note 9, 
pp. 247, 260, 289-300. 

37. Christian Peters et al., "Vegetable Consumption, Dietary Guidelines, 
and Agricultural Production in New York State: Implications for Local Food 
Economies," Department of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell Uni- 
versity, Ithaca, New York, May 2002. 

38. United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, "Feeding Asian 
Cities," Proceedings of the Regional Seminar, Food Supply and Distribution 
to Cities Programme, Bangkok, Thailand, 27-30 November 2000. 

39. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Urban Agriculture: 
Food, Jobs and Sustainable Cities (New York, 1996), p. 26, and Jac Smit, the Urban 
Agriculture Network, Washington, D.C., discussion with author, 13 August 
2002. Box 2 from the following sources: historical sources from Luc J.A. 
Mougeot, "Urban Food Production: Evolution, Official Support, and Signifi- 
cance (with Special Reference to Africa)," Cities Feeding People Series, Report 
8, International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada, 1994, 
<>; roof gardens in Vancouver from 
Collin Varner and Christine Allen, Gardens of Vancouver (Vancouver: Raincoast 
Book Distributors, 2000), and in Bogota from Jac Smit and Joe Nasr, "Urban 
Agriculture for Sustainable Cities: Using Wastes and Idle Land and Water 
Bodies as Resources," Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 4, No. 2, 1992, pp. 
141-51; Calcutta from United Nations Development Programme, Urban Agri- 
culture: Food, Jobs and Sustainable Cities (New York, 1996), p. 187; Eduardo Spi- 
aggi, "Urban Agriculture and Local Sustainable Development: The Integration 
of Economic, Social, Technical, and Environmental Variables in Rosario, 
Argentina," presented at International Development Research Centre Agropo- 
lis Awardee Conference, Ottawa, Canada, 26 March 2002; UNDP estimates from 



United Nations Development Program, op. cit. this note, p. 26; Dar-Es-Salaam 
from Luc J.A. Mougeot, "Farming In and Around Cities," <www. world- 
bank, org/html/ fpd/urban/urb_age/urb_agri.doc>, viewed 17 September 2002, 
and Stefan Dongus, "Vegetable Production on Open Spaces in Dar-Es-Salaam: 
Spatial Changes from 1992 to 1999," Urban Vegetable Promotion Project, Dar- 
Es-Salaam, Tanzania, January 2000, <>; 
Bamako from Isabel Maria Madaleno, "Cities of the Future: Urban Agriculture 
in the Third Millennium," Food, Nutrition, and Agriculture, Vol. 29, 2001, p. 17; 
nutrition studies from Daniel Maxwell, "Alternative Food Security Strategies: 
A Household Analysis of Urban Agriculture in Kampala," World Development, 
Vol. 23, No. 10, 1995, pp. 1669-81; Asian examples from United Nations Food 
and Agriculture Organization, op. cit. note 38, p. 16; Belem from Madaleno, 
op. cit. this note, pp. 18, 19; Cuba from Nelso Companioni et al., "The 
Growth of Urban Agriculture," in Fernando Funes et al. (eds.), Sustainable Agri- 
culture and Resistance: Transforming Food Production in Cuba, (Oakland, California: 
Food First Books, 2002), pp. 227-29; St. Petersburg from Alexander Gavrilov, 
agriculture director of the Center for Citizen Initiatives, St. Petersburg, Rus- 
sia, "Rooftop Gardening in St. Petersburg, Russia," < 
siastp.html>, 1 December 2001; Lisbon and London from Madaleno, op. cit. 
this note, pp. 15, 16; American food production in metropolitan areas from 
A.A. Sorenson et al., Farming on the Edge (DeKalb, Illinois: American Farmland 
Trust, 1997), <>, p. 5; Toronto community gar- 
dens from Wayne Roberts, project co-ordinator, Toronto Food Policy Coun- 
cil, discussion with author, 23 May 2002; Toronto rooftop garden from Lauren 
Baker, "Warehouse Rooftop Supports Urban Agriculture," In Business, 
March/April 2000, pp. 16-18. 

40. Companioni et al., op. cit. note 39, pp. 220-36. 

41. Pothukuchi and Kaufman, op. cit. note 17, pp. 213-24, and United 
Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, op. cit. note 38, p. 1. 

42. Local food as best option for feeding poor urbanites from Pothukuchi and 
Kaufman, op. cit. note 17, p. 214; food expenses and options for poor urban- 
ites from United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, op. cit. note 45, 
p. 11, and Suzi Leather, The Making of Modern Malnutrition (London: The Car- 
oline Walker Trust, 1996); supermarkets leaving inner cities from Frances 
Moore Lappe et al., World Hunger: 12 Myths (New York: Grove Press, 1998), p. 102. 

43. Roberts, op. cit. note 39. 

44. Argumedo, op. cit. note 30. 

45. Emphasis on commodity production from Jules Pretty, University of Essex, 
United Kingdom, discussion with author, 23 February 2002, and Henry A. Wal- 
lace Center for Agricultural & Environmental Policy at Winrock Interna- 
tional, Making Changes: Turning Local Vision into National Solutions (Winrock 
International: Arlington, Virginia, May 2001), p. 26; barriers to local food busi- 
nesses from Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food, op cit. 



note 15, p. 44; lack of entrepreneurial emphasis in developing world from Jules 
Pretty and Rachel Hine, Reducing Food Poverty with Sustainable Agriculture: A Sum- 
mary of New Evidence (Colchester, U.K.: SAFE- World Research Project, University 
of Essex, February 2001), pp. 10, 17, and Sue Azam-Ali, International Tech- 
nology Development Group, London, United Kingdom, discussion with 
author, 30 April 2002. 

46. These American statistics refer only to markets registered with state 
governments, and officials speculate that there are probably thousands of addi- 
tional unofficial ones. Timothy Egan, "Growers and Shoppers Crowd Farm- 
ers' Markets," New York Times, 29 September 2002; Henry A. Wallace Center, 
op. cit. note 45, p. 20, and Tim Payne, United States Department of Agricul- 
ture, e-mail to author, 16 April 2002; British markets from Policy Commission 
on the Future of Farming and Food, op. cit. note 15, p. 45, and <>. 

47. Costa Rica from Katherine Diaz-Knauf et al., "A Comparison of Produce 
Prices in Costa Rica: Farmers' Markets, Produce Markets, and Supermarkets/' 
Journal of Consumer Studies and Home Economics, March 1992, pp. 106-17; United 
Kingdom from Foundation for Local Food Initiatives, "Shopping Basket Sur- 
vey for South West Local Food Partnership," (London: 2002), <www.southwest>; United States from Robert Sommer et al., "Price Savings to 
Consumers at Farmers' Markets," Journal of Consumer Affairs, Winter 1980, pp. 
452-62; more recent unpublished studies from Sommer, discussion with 
author, 23 February 2002; and unpublished surveys (showing that farmers' mar- 
ket produce is generally 10 to 20 percent cheaper than supermarket produce) 
by Ramu Govindasamy, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Eco- 
nomics, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, e-mail to author, 19 
September 2002. Farmers' markets as opportunities for small farmers from Henry 
A. Wallace Center, op. cit. note 45, p. 21. 

48. Structure of community supported agriculture arrangements from Eliz- 
abeth Henderson and Robyn Van En, Sharing the Harvest: A Guide to Commu- 
nity-Supported Agriculture (White River Junction, Vermont: Chelsea Green 
Publishing Company, June 1999); number of such schemes from Henry A. Wal- 
lace Center, op. cit. note 45, p. 17; United Kingdom from Soil Association, "How 
To Set Up a Vegetable Box Scheme," Briefing Paper, Bristol, U.K., <www.soil>, 8 July 2002. 

49. Henderson and Van En, op. cit. note 48, and Dan Imhoff, "Linking 
Tables to Farms," in Eric T. Freyfogle (ed.), The New Agrarianism: Land, Culture, 
and the Community of Life (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2001), pp. 19-26. 

50. Andy Fisher, Community Food Security Coalition, discussion with 
author, 5 February 2002. 

51. Problems with processing and retailing units for small, local initiatives 
from Henry A. Wallace Center, op. cit. note 45, p. 35, and Policy Commission 
on the Future of Farming and Food, op. cit. note 15, p. 45; annual sales for 



Sysco from Sysco Corporation, 2001 Annual Report (Houston, TX: 2001), p. 1. 

52. Jim Cheatle and Jane Turn, Association for Better Land Husbandry, 
Nairobi, Kenya, discussion with author, 14 February 2001; Lucie Rogo, Inter- 
national Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology, Nairobi, Kenya, discussion 
with author, 18 February 2001. 

53. Dolan et al., op. cit. note 25; Cheatle and Turn, op. cit. note 52. 

54. Azam-Ali, op. cit. note 45, and International Technology Development 
Group website, "Agroprocessing," <>, viewed 4 September 2002. 

55. Michael Gezana, technology area manager, International Technology 
Development Group (ITDG), Harare, Zimbabwe, e-mail to author, 22 August 
2002, and ITDG, op. cit. note 54; opportunities for women in agroprocessing 
from United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, op. cit. note 38, p. 

56. Azam-Ali, op. cit. note 45; United Nations Food and Agriculture Orga- 
nization, op. cit. note 38, p. 18. 

57. Azam-Ali, op. cit. note 45; barriers in the retailing sector and statistics 
on where most people buy food from Policy Commission on the Future of Farm- 
ing and Food, op. cit. note 15, pp. 16, 45. 

58. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Marketing Sustainable Agricul- 
ture: Case Studies and Analysis From Europe (Minneapolis, Minnesota: 1999), pp. 
9, 16. 

59. Mary Hendrickson, University of Missouri (Columbia), discussion with 
author, 4 March 2002. 

60. Saritha Rai, "Battling to Satisfy India's Taste for Ice Cream, Farmers' 
Co-op Pesters Unilever," New York Times, 20 August 2002, and Amul website, 
<>, viewed 20 September 2002. 

61. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, op. cit. note 58, p. 11. 

62. Food shops in the U.K. from ibid., p. 16; Christies Farm Shop from 
James Petts, "Public Procurement of Sustainable Food: Current, Planned, and 
Related Initiatives," Sustainable Food Chains Briefing Paper 3 (draft), published 
by Sustain, London, sent to author 1 August 2002. 

63. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, op. cit. note 58, p. 17. 

64. Pamela J. King, "A Sea of Greens," Rural Cooperatives, U.S. Department 
of Agriculture, July /August 1999. 

65. Petts, op. cit. note 62. 



66. Sustain: The Alliance for Better Food and Farming, "Study Visit to Italy: 
The Italian School Meals System/' <>, 
viewed 1 September 2002, and Petts, op. cit. note 62. 

67. University of North Iowa Local Food Project, < 
project/>, viewed 31 July 2002. 

68. W.K. Kellogg Foundation, "Food for Thought: Community-Based Food 
Systems Enterprises" (report), Battle Creek, Michigan, 2002, p. 7, and Leslie 
Schaller, "Many Cooks Make a Restaurant Success/' In Business, March/April 
2000, pp. 12-15. 

69. Jules Pretty, The Living Land (London: Earthscan, 1998), pp. 164, 165. 

70. Puget Consumers' Cooperative from PCC Natural Markets website, 
<>, viewed 24 July 2002; Trudy Bialic, public 
affairs manager for PCC Natural Markets, discussion with author, 4 Septem- 
ber 2002; and Adrienne P. Touart, "The Nation's Largest Natural Food Co-op," 
In Business, November/December 1999, pp. 23, 24. 

71. Rhian Evans, community development worker, Hartcliffe Health & Envi- 
ronment Action Group, discussion with author, 12 August 2002; and Hartcliffe 
Health & Environment Action Group, Annual Report: April 2000-March 2001, 
Bristol, U.K., 2001. 

72. Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, "Our Rural Supermarket: 
Locally Grown Foods," Center Progress Report, May 2002, pp. 60, 61; Policy Com- 
mission on the Future of Farming and Food, op. cit. note 15, p. 45; Institute 
for Agriculture and Trade Policy, op. cit. note 58, p. 48. 

73. Lindsay Howerton, "Patchwork Family Farms Finds New Markets," In 
Motion Magazine, 20 June 1999. 

74. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, op. cit. note 58, pp. 43-44; Neil 
Hamilton, "Putting a Face on Our Food: How State and Local Food Policies 
Can Promote the New Agriculture," Drake Journal of Agricultural Law, Volume 
7, Issue 2, November 2002 (forthcoming), and "Attracting Consumers With 
Locally Grown Products," prepared for the North Central Initiative for Small 
Farm Profitability by the Food Processing Center, Institute of Agriculture and 
Natural Resources, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, October 2001, pp. 66, 67; 
Day Chocolate Company from Kika Dixon, The Day Chocolate Company, e- 
mail to Arunima Dhar (Worldwatch Institute), 1 August 2002, and <www.divine 
chocolate. com>, viewed 1 August 2002. 

75. Organic Valley, 2001 CROPP Annual Report (La Farge, Wisconsin: 2002), 
pp. 2, 3; and "Organic Valley Celebrates Nation's First Ever National Program 
of Regional Organic Milks," Organic Valley press release, La Farge, Wisconsin, 
<>, 7 March 2002. 



76. Jack Kloppenburg, Department of Rural Sociology, University of Wisconsin 
(Madison), discussion with author, 23 April 2002. 

77. Estimate of the number of food policy councils from Hamilton, op. cit. 
note 74; estimate for councils outside of North America from Kameshwari 
Pothukuchi, Wayne State University, discussion with author, 3 March 2002; 
characteristics of the councils from Pothukuchi and Kaufman, op. cit. note 17, 
and Hamilton, op. cit. note 74. Box 4 from the following sources: Mark 
Winne, executive director, Hartford Food System, discussion with author, 4 
April 2002, and Hartford Food System, <>, viewed 1 Sep- 
tember 2002; Ian Hutchcroft, Devon Foodlinks, discussion with author, 21 April 
2002, and Charles Couzens, Emma Delow and Sarah Watson, "Local Food Links 
in the South West of England, Summary Report," The Foundation for Local 
Food Initiatives, Bristol, United Kingdom, March 2001; Herb Barbolet, Farm 
Folk/City Folk, discussion with author, 20 May 2002, and <>, 
viewed 1 September 2002; Roberts, op. cit. note 39; and Toronto Food Policy 
Council, <>, viewed 23 August 

78. Winne, op. cit. note 77. 

79. Edward Seidler, United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization 
Marketing Group, e-mail to author, 1 1 July 2002; United Nations Food and 
Agricultural Organization, op. cit. note 38, pp. 45, 6; Frances Moore Lappe and 
Anna Lappe, Hope's Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet (New York: Tardier/ 
Putnam, 2002), pp. 93-101. 

80. Hutchcroft, op. cit. note 77; and Couzens, Delow, and Watson, op. cit. 
note 77. 

81. Leslie Schaller, ACENet, e-mail to author, 26 July 2002; Mary McVay and 
Madi Hirschland, "Making the Connection: Appalachian Center for Eco- 
nomic Networks (ACENet)," Access to Markets Case Study Series, No. 1, The 
Aspen Institute, Washington, D.C., September 2000; Wayne Roberts, "The Way 
to a City's Heart Is Through Its Stomach: Putting Food Security on the Urban 
Planning Menu," Crackerbarrel Philosophy Series, Toronto Food Policy Coun- 
cil, Toronto, Ontario, June 2001, pp. 55-58. 

82. Local procurement from Neil Hamilton, Agricultural Law Center, Drake 
University, discussion with author, 3 March 2002; Eaton and Abbeystead 
from Pretty, op. cit. note 69, p. 200. 

83. Wegmans from Tom Furphy, former controller, Wegmans Food Markets, 
"Wegmans, Delivering Value to the Customer," presentation given at "The Food 
System of the 21st Century: Strategic Opportunities and Challenges," Kellogg 
Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, 7-9 February 2000; 
Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food, op. cit. note 15, pp. 
45, 46. 



84. Procurement restrictions in trade agreements from David Ferguson and 
James Petts of Sustain: The Alliance for Better Food and Farming, London, U.K., 
e-mail to author, 1 August 2002; see also Article III in the World Trade Orga- 
nization Agreement on Government Procurement, < 
tratop_e/gproc_e/agrmnt_e.htm>, and Articles 3 and 12 in Treaty Establish- 
ing the European Community, < 
dat/ec_cons_treaty_en.pdf>; "Japan Defends Its Protection of Farming Sector/' 
Associated Press, 9 May 2002; Rosset, op. cit. note 34 (discussion). Box 6 from 
the following sources: $320 billion from Organisation for Economic Coop- 
eration and Development (OECD), Agricultural Policies in OECD Countries: 
Monitoring and Evaluation 2001 (Paris: 2001), pp. 25, 178, 183, 184; Rich 
Pirog, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State University, 
Ames, Iowa, discussion with author, 28 August 2002. 

85. Nabhan, op. cit. note 9; Gussow, op. cit. note 14, pp. 82, 83. 

86. Comparison with 1967 foot-and-mouth epidemic from Tim Lang, "Out 
of the Crisis, Let There Be Hope/' Daily Express, 28 Feb 2001; feed from China 
from T.R. Reid, "Asian Meat Suspected as Source of Disease/' Washington Post, 
28 March 2001. 

87. Marsha Bushwood, Consumer Research Division, Promar International, 
Cheshire, United Kingdom, discussion with author, 13 March 2002. 

88. Ibid.; Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food, op. cit. note 
15, p. 44. 

89. Terrorist incidents and concern about food system tampering from 
Rebecca Gardyn, "What's Cooking," American Demographics, March 2002, p. 
35. This food supply estimate comes from The Rodale Institute, Empty Bread- 
basket: The Coming Challenge to America's Food Supply and What We Can Do About 
It (Kutztown, Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, 1981), pp. 12-14. Medard Gable, an 
expert on food and energy who was an author of Empty Breadbaskets and now 
works with Global Links Consultants, suggested that given trends in the 
food industry in the last two decades, including the move away from keep- 
ing large inventories and toward just-in-time delivery, any storage or emer- 
gency stocks have likely dropped further. Medard Gable, Global Links 
Consultants, <>, discussion with author, 3 Sep- 
tember 2002. 

90. Carlo Petrini, president, Slow Food Movement, e-mail to author, 17 
July 2002; tomatoes estimate from Sommer, op. cit. note 6. For an analysis of 
crop breeding and agricultural research priorities see Jim Hightower, Hard Toma- 
toes, Hard Times (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Schenkman Publishing Co., 

91. Slow Food membership and philosophy from Ilaria Morra, press office, 
Slow Food, e-mail to author, 14 July 2002, and Petrini, op. cit. note 90; Mar- 
garet Mead, "The Changing Significance of Food," American Scientist, March- 
April, 1970, pp. 176-81. 



92. Justin Gillis, "Biotech Firms Launch Food Ad Blitz," Washington Post, 4 
April 2000, and David Barboza, "Biotech Companies Take On Critics of Gene- 
Altered Food," New York Times, 12 November 1999. 

93. JoAnn Jaffe and Michael Gertler, "Victual Vicissitudes: Consumer 
Deskilling and the Transformation of Food Systems," in M.D. Mehta (ed.), The 
Sociology of Biotechnology (Toronto: University Press, forthcoming). 

94. Imhoff, op. cit. note 49, p. 20. 

95. Jaffe and Gertler, op. cit. note 93. 

96. Southwest England from Foundation for Local Food Initiatives, op cit. 
note 47; Hadley, Massachusetts from Imhoff, op. cit. note 49, p. 25; Fadzavanhu 
Enterprises from Gezana, op. cit. note 55. 




Accokeek Ecosystem Farm, 10 
agribusiness, see also long-distance 
food system 

consolidation, 40 

consumer cynicism, 59 

layers, 24 

Wal-Mart effect, 21-28 
Agriculteurs en Vente Collective 

Direct (AVEC), 45 
agrochemicals, 24, 36 
agroprocessing, 42-44 
Alliance for Better Foods, 62 
America's Second Harvest, 32 
Amul brand, 44 

Appalachian Center for Economic 
Networks (ACENet), 54 

apples, 30-31 

Argentina, 36 

Argumedo, Alejandro, 29 

Association for Better Land 

Husbandry (ABLH), 41-42 

Association for Nature 

Conservation and Sustainable 
Development (ANDES), 29, 35 

Azam-Ali, Sue, 42-43 

Bananas, 24 
Bangladesh, 42 
Barbolet, Herb, 51 
Berry, Wendell, 28 
Biocycle, 21 
biomobiles, 44 
Bittersweet Harvest, 26 
Bove, Jose, 15 
Brazil, 36, 53 
Burkina Faso, 27 
Bushwood, Marsha, 59 
buying clubs, 47-48 

Canada, 35-37, 51, 54 
Capital Area Food Bank, 8 
carbon emissions, 20 
Carlsson-Kanyama, Anika, 20 
Casa Nueva, 46-47 
Cheatle, Jim, 42 

Cliffie's Salsa, 54 
climate change, 20 
Coca-Cola, 28 
cocoa, 24 
coffee, 24 
Colombia, 36 
Community Food Security 

Coalition, 40 
community supported agriculture 

(CSA), 7, 30-31, 39-40, 51, 

composting, 21 

Connecticut Food Policy Council, 

Conrad, Josh, 46 

consumer action, 7, 30-31, 39-40, 

51, 57-64 
corn, 25-26 

crop diversity, 28-31, 56 
cropland, 9-10 

Crossroads Resource Center, 22 

Cuba, 34-36 

culinary imperialism, 15 

Dairy products, 44-45, 64 

Daly, Herman, 21 

Day Chocolate Company, 49 

Deane, Jan, 30 

diabetes, 32 

distribution, see local foodshed; 

long-distance food system 
Doble, Ian, 46 
Dotty Baker, 54 


fair trade movement, 49 

food swap, 20-21, 30 

food transport costs, 5-6, 9, 14, 

18-19, 25-27 
local opportunity, 15, 27-28, 33, 


subsidies, 20, 25, 37, 56 
trade agreements, 25-27 
Wal-Mart effect, 21-28 
world food trade value, 11, 16 



education, 56, 62 
energy costs, 18-20, 56 

Fadzavanhu Enterprises, 42-43, 63 

fair trade movement, 49 

farm cooperatives, 12, 38, 41-49 

Farm Folk/City Folk (FFCF), 51 

farm shops, 44-45 

farmers' markets, 7, 10, 12, 38-39, 58 

Farmer's Own brand, 41 

farmland, 9-10 

First World, 25, 35 

Fischer, Andy, 40 

Food Bank Farm, 63 

food deserts, 28-35 

food distribution, see local 

foodshed; long-distance food 

food inspections, 8 
food policy councils 

international reform, 55-57 
local liaison, 7-8, 35, 50-55 
food processing, 42-44 
food swap, 20-21, 30 
FoodFirst/Institute for Agriculture 

and Development Policy, 57 
foodshed, see local foodshed 
foot-and-mouth disease, 59 
fossil fuels, 18-19, 56 
FreshFarm Market, 10, 12 

Germany, 45 
Ghana, 49 

global trade, see long-distance food 

global warming, 20 
Goldstein, Jerry, 21 
grain, 24-26, 56 
Green Revolution, 37 
greenhouse gases, 20 
Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing 

Federation, 44-45 
Gussow, Joan, 18, 58 

Hartcliffe Health & Environment 

Action Group, 47 
Hartford Food System (HFS), 51-52 

Hendrickson, Mary, 44 
Herbal Sage Tea Company, 54 
Hope's Edge, 53 
Hora, Matthew, 8 
Hutchcroft, Ian, 53 

India, 28, 36 

individual action, 7, 30-31, 39-40, 

51, 57-64 
inspections, 8 
Institute for Food and 

Development, 27 
Integration Acres, 54 
International Center for Insect 

Physiology and Ecology 

(ICIPE), 41-42 
international conglomerates, 5, 

13-14, 17, 21-28 
International Monetary Fund, 25 
international policy reform, 55-57 
International Society for Ecology 

and Culture (ISEC), 23, 28 
International Technology Develop- 
ment Group (ITDG), 42-43 
Italy, 46 

Jaffe, JoAnn, 63 
Japan, 47, 64 

Kenya, 41-42 
Kloppenburg, Jack, 40, 50 
Kuapa Kokoo, 49 

Landfills, 21 

Lappe, Anna, 53 

Lappe, Francis Moore, 53 

Leopold Center for Sustainable 

Agriculture, 56 
local foodshed, see also long- 
distance food system 
barriers, 13, 16 
benefits, 6-7, 12-15, 57-64 
community supported 

agriculture (CSA), 7, 30-31, 
39-40, 51, 58-62 
consumer role, 57-64 
economic opportunities, 15, 



27-28, 33, 35-41 
entrepreneurial approach, 35-41 
fair trade movement, 49 
farm shops, 44-45 
farmers' markets, 7, 10, 12, 

38-39, 58 
food policy councils, 7-8, 35, 


government support, 10, 50, 

local foods movement, 6, 10, 13, 

15-16, 22 
marketing cooperatives, 12, 38, 


rebuilding system, 13, 27, 39-40, 

restaurants, 46-47, 54, 58 
self-sufficiency, 27-33, 36, 54 
urban farming, 33-37 
Wal-Mart effect, 21-28 
long-distance food system, see also 

local foodshed 
carbon emissions, 20 
causes, 5, 13-14, 17 
distribution, 8-10 
energy costs, 18-20 
food inspections, 8 
food swap, 20-21, 30 
shipping distances, 5, 9, 16-21 
subsidies, 20, 25, 37, 56 
terrorist tampering, 60 
traceability, 59 
trade agreements, 25-27 
transport methods, 20 
unseen costs, 5-6, 9, 14, 18-19, 

Wal-Mart effect, 21-28 
world trade value, 11, 16 
world trade volume, 11, 16-17 

Mamen, Katy, 28 

marketing cooperatives, 12, 38, 

McDonald's, 15, 23 
Mead, Margaret, 61 
meat, 24, 45-46 
Meter, Ken, 22 

Mexico, 25-26 
milk, 44-45, 64 

Nabhan, Gary, 14, 58, 61 
NaturRub, 41-42 
Nestle, 28 

New Economics Foundation, 27 
Niger, 27 

Norberg-Hodge, Helena, 23 
North American Free Trade 

Agreement (NAFTA), 25-27 
Northwood Farms, 30 

Obesity, 35, 50 
O'Brien, Doug, 32 
oil use, 18-19, 56 
Oodham Indians, 32-33 
oranges, 17-18 
Organic Valley, 49, 64 

Packaging, 21, 25, 62 
Paez, Egidio, 34 
Patchwork Family Farm, 48 
perishables, 17, 19 
Peru, 9-10, 29, 42 
pesticides, 24, 36 
Petrini, Carlo, 60-61 
petroleum use, 18-19, 56 
pineapples, 24 
Pirog, Rich, 56 

international reform, 55-57 
local food policy councils, 7-8, 
35, 50-55 

pollution, 10, 21, 36 

potatoes, 9-10, 29 

Pothukuchi, Kameshwari, 34 

Poullion, Nora, 12 

Pretty, Jules, 37-38 

Prince, Bernie, 12 

Promar International, 59 

Puget Consumers' Cooperative, 47 

Refrigeration, 17, 19 
restaurants, 46-47, 54, 58 
retail foods, see also long-distance 
food system 



community supported 

agriculture (CSA), 7, 30-31, 
39-40, 51, 58-62 
farm shops, 44-45 
farmers' markets, 7, 10, 12, 

38- 39, 58 

food policy councils, 7-8, 35, 

Wal-Mart effect, 21-28 
Roberts, Wayne, 35 
Rosales, Jon, 22 
Rosset, Peter, 27, 57 

Safeway, 8 

Schwabisch Hallisches Schwein, 45 

Seddon, David, 25-26 

Seidler, Edward, 52 

self-sufficiency, 27-33, 36, 54 

Shand, Hope, 24 

shipping distances, 5, 9, 16-21 

Slow Food Movement, 60-61 

Smit, Jac, 33-34 

subscription farming, 7, 30-31, 

39- 40, 51, 58-62 
subsidies, 20, 25, 37, 56 
Sudan, 42 

Tagwerk, 44 
Tanzania, 36 
taxes, 56 

Thrupp, Lori Ann, 26 
Tomatoes, 61 

Toronto Food Policy Council 

(TFPC), 35, 51, 54 
traceability, 59 
trade agreements, 25-27 
Tropicana, 20 

Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooper- 
ative, 12 

shipping distances, 5, 17 
United Nations 

Centre on Transnational Corpo- 
rations, 24 
Development Programme, 36 
Food and Agriculture 
Organization, 52 
United States 

Department of Agriculture, 54 
food distribution, 8-10 
shipping distances, 5, 9, 17 
urban farming, 3 7 
Upper Marlboro distribution center, 

Urban Agriculture Network, 33 
urban farming, 33-37 

Waitrose, 59-60 
Wal-Mart effect, 21-28 
watershed protection, 10 
Wegmans Food Markets, 55 
Wilkins, Jennifer, 33 
Winne, Mark, 52 

Women's Alliance of Ladakh, 29, 35 
World Bank, 25 
World Trade Organization, 25, 

Zimbabwe, 42, 63 

United Kingdom 

community supported 

agriculture, 7, 30-31, 39-40, 

51-55, 59 
farm shops, 45 
farmers' markets, 38 
food swap, 20 

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160: Reading the Weathervane: Climate Policy From Rio to Johannesburg 
157: Hydrogen Futures: Toward a Sustainable Energy System, 2001 
151: Micropower: The Next Electrical Era, 2000 
149: Paper Cuts: Recovering the Paper Landscape, 1999 
144: Mind Over Matter: Recasting the Role of Materials in Our Lives, 1998 
138: Rising Sun, Gathering Winds: Policies To Stabilize the Climate and Strengthen 
Economies, 1997 

130: Climate of Hope: New Strategies for Stabilizing the World's Atmosphere, 1996 
On Ecological and Human Health 

153: Why Poison Ourselves: A Precautionary Approach to Synthetic Chemicals, 2000 

148: Nature's Cornucopia: Our Stakes in Plant Diversity, 1999 

145: Safeguarding the Health of Oceans, 1999 

142: Rocking the Boat: Conserving Fisheries and Protecting Jobs, 1998 

141 : Losing Strands in the Web of Life: Vertebrate Declines and the Conservation of 

Biological Diversity, 1998 
140: Taking a Stand: Cultivating a New Relationship With the World's Forests, 1998 
129: Infecting Ourselves: How Environmental and Social Disruptions Trigger Disease, 


On Economics, Institutions, and Security 

162: The Anatomy of Resource Wars 

159: Traveling Light: New Paths for International Tourism, 2001 

158: Unnatural Disasters, 2001 

1 55: Still Waiting for the Jubilee: Pragmatic Solutions for the Third World Debt Crisis, 

152: Working for the Environment: A Growing Source of Jobs, 2000 
146: Ending Violent Conflict, 1999 

139: Investing in the Future: Harnessing Private Capital Flows for Environmentally 
Sustainable Development, 1998 

On Food, Water, Population, and Urbanization 

161: Correcting Gender Myopia: Gender Equity, Women's Welfare, and the 

156: City Limits: Putting the Brakes on Sprawl, 2001 
154: Deep Trouble: The Hidden Threat of Groundwater Pollution, 2000 
150: Underfed and Overfed: The Global Epidemic of Malnutrition, 2000 
147: Reinventing Cities for People and the Planet, 1999 
136: The Agricultural Link: How Environmental Deterioration Could Disrupt Economic 
Progress, 1997 

135: Recycling Organic Waste: From Urban Pollutant to Farm Resource, 1997 

Other Publications From the WorldWatch Institute 

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